Children’s feet grow faster than any other part of their body. Most children’s feet have completed growing by early puberty. Foot pain can result from the quick growth, since children may outgrow their shoes faster than you can buy them new ones, or their feet bones may outgrow the foot muscles, resulting in real growing pains.
There are several types of foot pain that commonly affect children. Sever’s disease is a common type of foot pain that creates pain in one or both of his heels. Other types of foot pain include fractures and sprains. In some cases, the pain comes from an growth on the skin of the foot, such as a blister, plantar wart or corn. Another type of foot pain results when one of the toenails grows into the skin.
Children should learn to keep their toenails neatly trimmed. Cutting the nail too short, though, can lead to pain later on, as the nail grows back into the skin on the tip of the toe, instead of outward. Ingrown nails can also occur if your child’s shoes don’t fit properly or if he sustained an injury to the toe. Corns, or small areas of tough, yellowed skin, are another common cause of pain on the toes. They form as a result of friction on the skin, usually from wearing shoes that are too tight.
Friction from ill-fitting shoes can cause blisters on the heels or other areas of your child’s foot. Blisters are small areas filled with fluid and can be especially painful if they pop. Some blisters eventually turn into calluses, hard areas of skin that can hurt if they are on the bottom of the foot. Too fast growth can also cause pain, especially if your child is active. Damage to the growth plate on the heel leads to Sever’s disease. If your child performs a sport that requires him to put a lot of pressure on his heels, he’s more at risk for Sever’s disease.
The treatment for foot pain varies based on the cause. Some blisters may get better if you simply cover them with a bandage. If the blister has formed into a callus, you may need an emery board or pumice stone to file the dead skin away. Corns often require special pads that contain salicylic acid. You can treat an ingrown toenail with an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and by soaking it. In some cases, a doctor may need to remove most of the nail. Fractures and sprains may need to be set by a doctor. Ice and pain medicine as well as rest can help treat Sever’s disease.
Preventing Foot Pain
Teach your child to cut his nails straight across the toe and not to cut too low. Make sure his shoes fit him properly to keep calluses, corns and blisters away. Proper footwear is also essential so that your child doesn’t break or sprain his foot during sports. Stretching the foot and heel and applying ice to it after sports is a good way to keep Sever’s disease from occurring or recurring.