Children's Foot Deformities
For a parent, discovering your child has a birth defect or foot deformity can feel overwhelming and worrying. You may wonder if your child will be able to walk or play normally, or if you could have done something to prevent all this. You are not alone. Foot deformities in children are more common than you may think, and they can be treated quite successfully.
Most Common Deformities in Children
Children’s foot deformities can be a problem that’s present at birth or something that develops and becomes problematic later. The good news is that, even when they look scary, these deformities can be treated. Here are some of the most common conditions children develop:
- Clubfoot – One of the most common birth defects, this is present at your child’s birth. One or both feet appear to curve in, creating a “clubbed” look. With careful and highly precise treatment through your child’s infancy, the feet can be properly aligned, allowing your child to walk normally and have better function. Our team specializes in treating this particular condition.
- Cavus foot – This is an issue with excessively high arches. Usually, it develops slowly over the first decade of life, causing pain and increasing your child’s risk for calluses and injuries like ankle sprains. This condition may be connected to nerve or muscular issues.
- Tarsal coalition – This kind of rigid flatfoot is the result of two or more tarsal bones in the middle or back of the foot fusing together. Typically pain from the problem doesn’t develop until your child is older, as the “bridge” between the bones hardens.
- Polydactyly – Occasionally children are born with extra toes. It could be nothing more than a little nub, or a more fully-formed extra digit.
- Syndactyly – Sometimes children are born with “webbed” toes. This could be nothing more than excess skin between the digits, or could involve extra bone, nerves, and blood vessels as well.
- Polysyndactyly – Children can be born with both an extra digit and webbing between their toes. Depending on how developed these extra features are, the more advanced the surgery will be to correct it.
- Juvenile bunion – Just like in adults, the first metatarsal and the big toe can slide out of alignment, creating a bump on the side of the joint where the two meet. This can make wearing shoes and sometimes even being active very uncomfortable for your child.
- Brachymetatarsia – Very rarely, one of the metatarsal bones will not grow correctly and be much shorter than the others at birth. This can cause painful biomechanical issues when walking.
- Intoeing and Out-toeing – Sometimes children’s toes appear to point inward or outward when they walk. This is a gait abnormality that children normally outgrow, but it is something worth monitoring in case it becomes painful or is connected to a more serious condition.
- Metadducus – Also called metatarsus adductus, your child is born with one or both feet appearing to curve so the toes point inward toward each other. With early casting and stretching, the toes can be entirely straightened out by the time your child begins to walk.
- Vertical talus – Occasionally the ankle (talus) bone does not develop correctly, resulting in a foot that points upward at birth. In some cases, stretching and casting can help improve this problem, but the bone’s position may need to be surgically corrected after serial casting.
Getting the Best Care for Your Child’s Feet
The good news is that, while disconcerting, children’s birth defects and foot deformities can be treated. The sooner you get help for your son or daughter’s condition, the better. Our team with Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists will carefully examine your child’s feet and work with you to determine the best possible treatment plan for your child. What this treatment includes will depend on the deformity.
Many options are noninvasive, like orthotics and shoe changes to offer better support. Clubfoot care involves a series of casts and wearing special braces to retain corrections. Our team will discuss all potential treatments with you so you can make an informed decision about the best way to care for your child’s feet so they can walk and play without pain.
A foot deformity can be scary. You only want what’s best for your child. Fortunately, the diagnosis is not the end of your child’s story—it’s the beginning. With expert-level care and the appropriate interventions, your child can grow up happy, healthy, and without foot pain. Help your child get the best possible foot care for his or her needs with our team at Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists in Ladera Ranch, CA. You can contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation by filling out our online form or by calling (949) 364-9255.