Today in national NSPCC number day. One of the most common reasons a child will call the NSPCC helpline is because of neglect. Neglect can come in all forms and applies to issues big or small.

We take a look at children’s feet and a common form of neglect – incorrect footwear. Quite often, children are found to be wearing ‘hand-me-downs’, shoes either too big or too small and shoes that are in poor condition. What are the signs and dangers of incorrect footwear?

In-growing toe nails

In-growing toe nails most commonly affect the big toe (but can affect any of the toes). They are caused when a piece of nail gets stuck in the sulcus (the skin next to the nail), often from shoes too small. This causes pain and inflammation in the area and often leads to infection, which will make the pain more intense.

Treatment options include a small surgical procedure where the part of the nail that is causing the problem is permanently removed; other treatment options include conservative care where the offending nail will be trimmed back with the hope that the problem does not reoccur. Sometimes anti-biotics are also required where infection is present.

Flat feet

This is very common in children and more often than not this is not a problem. However, correct insoles are a must with flat feet, in particular children, as their feet are still developing. Pain will often occur while taking part in activities and exercise and the incorrect insole can have long lasting affects during adulthood.

It should be noted that children are born with a flat arch that slowly develops as the child ages and learns to walk. If development slows down or comes to a halt, insoles are used as they get older to help shape the arch of their feet.

Sever’s disease

This is a pretty common condition, particularly in children who are very sporty. It presents as pain at the back of the heel, with the pain at its worst after an activity that involves running and/or jumping. The reason this occurs is traction from the Achilles tendon, causing pain and tenderness at the insertion point at the back of the heel. This is usually apparent in early adolescence following a growth spurt.

Something as simple as the incorrect footwear can cause a huge burden on the child’s life as they get older, with poor footwear during childhood commonly contributing to lack of exercise, back pain and in particular, lack of mobility.

If your child is in any pain or discomfort, it is important to listen to them and act on it. Everything we do starts with our feet. If you require any advice on children’s feet or you feel your child may need to see a Podiatrist – we’d love to hear from you. Call us on 01282 453 110 or speak directly to our therapists using our free online service, ‘Ask A Physio’.

 

If you suspect a child is being neglected, contact 0808 800 5000 today and make a difference.