Children are increasingly appearing in podiatrists’ offices with preventable foot health issues that directly relate to excess weight and obesity. In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in American children and quadrupled in teens. Last year, nearly one third of American children were medically classified as obese. Those kids are at higher than average risk of physical development issues now and chronic health issues in the years to come.
What kinds of foot problems do overweight children face?
Most notably, they experience anatomical changes. They often have wider, flatter, and longer feet than those of their non-obese peers. This both spreads and compresses the bones, tendons and ligaments of the feet, ankles, and lower legs, leading to tissue damage and recurring pain.
Further, studies have shown that obese children more frequently experience issues related to the bones and muscle development than children of lower weights do. They also experience more neck, back, hip, knee, ankle, and foot pain than normal-weight children.
When treating children with weight issues, podiatrists frequently find themselves diagnosing and treating flat feet. Bearing extra weight can cause arches can fall or not form properly in the first place.
Finally, the heel bone isn’t fully developed until age fourteen. As your child grows, stress and muscle strain from extra pounds can cause inflammation of that growth plate. This condition is called Sever’s disease and it can make walking or running painful. Children with this condition are also susceptible to stress fractures in the heel bone.
The best solutions to childhood obesity are proactive and immediate.
Help your child shed the weight. Change the way your family eats. Get rid of the gaming system. Encourage exercise and activity. Talk to your pediatrician and also consider working with a registered dietitian. While your family is tackling your child’s weight issue, your podiatrist can improve your child’s foot health in many ways.
If your child is suffering from foot or ankle pain due to being overweight, or if you have any other concerns about your son or daughter’s foot health, call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 or click here today to schedule an appointment in our comfortable and convenient office on in Annapolis, MD. Dr. James M. McKee will work with your family as your son or daughter returns to a healthy weight and a more comfortable lifestyle.