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Today's podiatrist keeps kids active



Parents should watch for pain, subtle signs of foot and ankle problems in children

Foot issues parents should look for

America's podiatrists want parents to know that foot and ankle pain is never normal for kids. If a child experiences pain or a change in the condition of their feet and ankles, it's time to check in with the expert in kids' foot health—today's podiatrist.

"Many people think podiatry is a specialty that sees mostly older patients," said APMA President Laura J. Pickard, DPM. "But children experience a wide range of developmental conditions, as well as injuries in their feet and ankles, and podiatrists treat them every day."

The Today's Podiatrist Keeps Kids Active campaign is designed to educate parents about how to keep their children's feet and ankles healthy and when to seek care from a podiatrist to ensure children can stay active.


"I'm seeing so many children in my practice," said Priya Parthasarathy, DPM, chair of the APMA Communications Committee. Dr. Parthasarathy said many kids are returning to sports and other physical activities after a long hiatus during the COVID-19 public health crisis. "Some are experiencing overuse injuries, some are wearing cleats, skates, and shoes from two years ago that are now too small. As a parent myself, I keep an eye on my kids' feet and watch for unusual behavior. Sometimes children don't articulate pain the way adults do, but they might be avoiding activities or complaining of fatigue."

Podiatrists say some of the most common conditions to watch for in kids are:
  • Apophysitis—If a young athlete complains of persistent heel pain, it's time to see a podiatrist. Calcaneal apophysitis, or Sever's Disease, is the most common cause of heel pain in children, especially preteens. The growth plate in the heel bone can become inflamed due to overuse in kids who play sports such as basketball and soccer.
  • Fractures/Injuries—If a child has suffered a foot or ankle injury, a podiatrist is a great alternative to crowded ERs and urgent care facilities. Most offices hold spots for emergencies, and a podiatrist is specifically trained to treat the foot and ankle, from fractures to sprains.
  • Ingrown toenails—Usually, toenails grow straight out. Sometimes, however, one or both corners or sides curve and grow into the flesh, causing redness and irritation. Shoe pressure can contribute to this problem, so parents should be sure children are wearing properly fitted shoes. Ingrown nails can become seriously infected if left untreated, and antibiotics alone are not a cure. A podiatrist can correct the problem with a minor procedure.
  • Warts—Kids are susceptible to all sorts of viruses—including the highly contagious virus that causes warts. This virus thrives in warm, moist environments, like pool decks at camp or inside sweaty shoes. Warts are not serious but can become uncomfortable or even painful for kids. Parents should avoid home treatments that may contain harmful ingredients and schedule a visit with a podiatric physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Podiatrists treat these and many other conditions in children and can often provide quick relief of pain. Podiatrists provide conservative care and perform surgery to help get kids back in their game. To learn more, visit www.apma.org/keepkidsactive.

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) is the nation's leading professional organization for today's podiatrist. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) are qualified by their education, training, and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and structures of the leg. APMA has 53 component organizations across the United States and its territories, with a membership of more than 12,500 podiatrists. All practicing APMA members are licensed by the state in which they practice. For more information, visit?www.apma.org.   



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