Little Feet, Big Problems: Children and Podiatry


Until the industrial revolution of the 18th century, childhood was not viewed as a unique time of life, separate and distinct from later years. Children were seen as “little adults.” Of course, now we know that’s not true. Children and adolescents are physically, mentally, and emotionally different from adults, and we treat their needs as such. We take our children to pediatricians and family care practitioners who are specially trained to meet their health care needs needs. Children also have typical foot and ankle issues that are different from those of mature adults. They are best served by a podiatrist like James M. McKee, DPM, FACFAS, who brings years of specialized training and experience to the diagnosis and treatment of young people.

Foot and Ankle Injuries

Between participation in organized sports and roughhousing with friends, most kids are very physically active. Unfortunately, foot and ankle injuries happen, frequently leading children to the podiatrist’s office. Be on the lookout for a decrease in your child’s interest in sports or other physical activities, as well as limping, cramping, or pain.

Gait Abnormalities

Until children are preschool-aged, they walk differently from adults, with a wide-based stance and quick, short steps. By the time she is 3, your child should develop a more mature way of walking. Be alert to gait abnormalities including toes turned in or out, or walking on the toes after this milestone.

Warts and Fungal Infections

Kids are at higher risk of plantar warts and fungal nail infections than adults are. This is because it’s not unusual to find children congregating barefoot in public places such as locker rooms and public pools. Invest in an inexpensive pair of shower shoes for your child, and encourage him to wear them at all times. Remind your son or daughter never to share socks or shoes, even with friends or family members.

Ingrown Toenails

Have you noticed that your child is prone to ingrown toenails? Trim his toenails until you’re confident he’s ready to learn, then teach him to do the job properly, using a clipper, rather than a scissors, and trimming straight across without rounding the corners. Be sure to take your child for a professional fitting each time he new sneakers or dress shoes. It’s likely that he has grown since you bought the last pair and cramped toes can lead to ingrown toenails.

If you have a concern about the health of your child’s feet or ankles, Dr. James M. McKee can help. Every week, he examines and treats kids, keeping them comfortable and at ease through the process. Call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 or click here today to schedule an appointment in our conveniently located office on Solomons Island Road in Annapolis, MD.