Signs that Your Child May Have a Foot Problem

5 years old child lying on the golden leaf


Article by Dr. Misako McLeod, DPM

Signs that Your Child May Have a Foot Problem

Children’s feet are complex and complicating that fact is that most children often don’t complain of pain, or have a difficult time explaining what’s wrong. Most of the signs are very subtle and may be dependent upon the parents to notice them.

Here are some signs to look for:

1.  Your child can’t keep up with other kids. Your child wants to be picked up or doesn’t want to run and play with other kids. Their reluctance to play with other kids may be due to pain and discomfort in their feet with increased activity. This could be due to fatigue from flatfoot or tarsal coalitions as well as other problems.

2. Your child seems clumsy and uncoordinated. They trip and fall often. Clumsiness may be due to in-toeing, balance issues, or more serious neurologic issues. This needs to be evaluated.

3. Your child complains of pain.

This is definitely something that needs to be evaluated. Children should not be complaining of pain in their feet, ankles, or legs. This requires a visit to a foot and ankle specialist.  There are many reasons for foot, ankle, and leg pain in children and none of it is “normal.” Most of these problems can be corrected quite easily, such as flatfoot, while others are more serious issues such as bone tumors.

4.  Your child has swelling in the foot, ankle, or leg, but doesn’t complains that much about it. 

Children are not adults, so they can’t always explain if they have pain or localize the pain. Sometimes, they may just be cranky, appear tired, or withdrawal from normal activity. No amount of swelling or bruising is normal in a child. If pain and swelling lasts more than a few days, seek medical attention from a foot and ankle specialist.

Most foot, ankle, and leg issues in children can be treated, but are often times neglected. Parents are often told that nothing is wrong with their children by pediatricians, when in fact, there are clear foot and ankle issues. Most of these issues can be addressed in the developmental stages to prevent more serious pain and issues during adulthood.


Adorable little girl awaked up in her bed


Here is a list of pediatric foot and ankle problems that Dr. McLeod commonly sees:

Regardless of the problem, have your child evaluated by a foot and ankle specialist early. Many issues can be addressed early to prevent more serious issues later. Call 1-844-442-FOOT for a consultation.

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