Children's Feet | Experienced Idaho PodiatristChildren often spend all day on their feet. During growth spurts, sports practice, and outdoor plays, children sometimes find it difficult to exercise control over their ever-changing bodies. Accidents happen—and they happen often. While most childhood foot injuries require little more than words of comfort and limited bed rest, some conditions cannot be overlooked.

How to Tell if Your Child Needs a Podiatrist

Just like adults, children can suffer from a wide range of foot-related injuries and ailments.

However, treating a child’s feet can be challenging. Young children often find it difficult to explain their feelings, making it more difficult to identify or diagnose a problem. Even when parents try to be proactive, they may not have the medical background needed to recognize the signs of a genetically-influenced abnormality or a slow-spreading infection.

Your child may need a podiatrist if:

Your Child Hasn’t Had a Recent Checkup

Every child is different. Certain lifestyle-related choices can aggravate, or reduce, a child’s long-term risk of developing sports injuries and chronic medical conditions.

Your child may need regular podiatric checkups if they:

  • Play sports.
  • Spend a significant portion of the day on their feet.
  • Have a history of foot-related problems, including problems that have already been resolved.

Even if your child’s feet seem healthy, they could still benefit from annual or semi-annual examinations. During a regular checkup, your family podiatrist may review your child’s medical records, physically inspect their feet, and recommend solutions for any recurring or chronic problems.

Your Child Is Complaining of Foot Pain or Discomfort

Children are not always the best communicators, and they may struggle to explain symptoms in the same level of detail as older teenagers and adults.

However, foot-related complaints should never be dismissed. Your child may need an examination if they:

Complain of discomfort

If your child complains of pain or discomfort that is either recurrent or inexplicable, they may need to be assessed. Even if foot pain can be explained by a recent activity—a strenuous hike, a long walk, or a sports event—discomfort that is unusually severe or fails to respond to at-home remedies should always be investigated.

Avoid walking, running, or standing

Children may not always tell their parents when they are in pain. However, their actions could be indicative of underlying problems. If a child avoids physical activity and play, there could be an explanation beyond disinterest.

Have an abnormal, unusual, or idiosyncratic gait

Younger children do not learn to walk overnight. However, while many children do experience balance-related problems at an early age, they should—eventually—adopt a steady, comfortable gait. If your child appears to have difficulty walking or exhibits an unusual gait, they may need a podiatric examination.

Your Child Has a Genetic Condition or Birth Defect

Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle’s team of child podiatrists have experience treating a wide variety of foot-related conditions, including, but not limited to, the following:

Flatfoot Deformities

Flatfoot deformities can cause the “arch” of the foot to collapse. While flat-footedness has a range of potential explanations, it is typically caused by:

  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Weakened calf muscles
  • Ligament irregularities

Children who have flatfoot deformities sometimes improve with time. However, when left untreated, flat-footedness could progress, making it difficult for children to play sports, exercise, and perform routine activities.

Heel Pain and Sever’s Disease

Sever’s disease is common in children. It affects the growth plates in the heel. Children who have Sever’s disease may experience chronic pain, difficulty walking, and localized inflammation.


Clubfoot is a deformity of one or both feet. It is easily identifiable: a clubfoot deformity causes one or both feet to twist inward. Clubfoot deformities can be mild, moderate, or severe.

However, even comparably minor cases of clubfoot can make it more difficult for children to learn how to walk.

Pigeon Toe

Pigeon toe causes the feet to point inward while walking. Children who have a pigeon-toed gait may have other foot-related problems, such as weak hip muscles or over-rotated femurs.

Gait Problems

A gait problem is a mobility-related abnormality that affects how a child walks. Common gait-related problems include:

  • Pigeon toe
  • Duck-footedness
  • Inexplicable limping
  • Gait instability
  • Leg, hip, or foot pain
Dr. P. Roman Burk
Providing experienced private practice podiatry services in the Caldwell and Meridian, ID area since 2007.