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The Big 4 of Kids Foot Pain: When an Elsa Band-Aid is not enough

When my little one is hurt, most of the time it can be sorted with a cuddle, an ice pack, and in very serious cases, the application of a band-aid, preferably one with Elsa from Frozen on it. Unfortunately there are some conditions that not even Elsa can fix.

Kids experience pain differently to adults. In very little kids, they may not have the language to fully explain what they are feeling, instead choosing to be carried, whining or avoiding a favourite activity. Older kids are quite good at complaining about pain (and sometimes everything else) and it is easy to dismiss it.

Pain is not normal in a child. As children grow, they can experience some conditions that are common but easily manageable.

  1. Heel Pain or Sever’s Disease: This is characterised by pain in the back of the heel associated with activity. It occurs as the growth plate in the heel bone fuses and affects kids aged 8-13. The treatment usually involves the use of a heel raise and the use of RICE post activity. Orthotics are generally not necessary unless there is a significant biomechanical issue at play.
  2. Warts: Painful little lumps that love bare feet, especially when they are a bit wet. Sometimes they self resolve, however they can still be quite uncomfortable and a source of distress. Treatment can involve burning or freezing; both can be painful and distressing. Generally, with our kids we choose to use chemical debridement. It takes a little longer, but causes less pain and significantly reduces the risk of developing scars.
  3. Ingrown nails: Teenage boys who live in sweaty socks and shoes, playing lots of sports and who pick their toenails will often find themselves in a podiatrist’s office. Most can be cleared conservatively and packed to encourage better growth. Sometimes, toenail surgery is required, however this is not common.
  4. Growing Pains: Kids who complain of sore legs at night, who like to have feet and legs rubbed are often diagnosed with “growing pain”. Often there is a more significant issue at play. If a child has a very hypermobile foot or unstable foot posture, this causes the muscles in the legs to fatigue quickly and to be painful. By addressing the biomechanics, the symptoms can resolve quickly. Heat and liniment is a good measure in the short term, however seeing a podiatrist is better.

There are many other conditions that affect kids feet like toe walking, shin pain, pain in the balls of the feet to name a few. Our team love to answer your questions about what is normal, shoe advice or anything else you may have concerns about. Often, the solution is fairly simple and your kids can get on with the important work of being a kid.

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