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Pediatric Foot and Ankle Health

Our bodies are built on our feet, quite literally. Each child's foot and ankle structure - the arrangement of their bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments - determines how they walk, and upon this most complex structure the rest of their bodies are built.

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Feet, ankles and toes that perform as they should allow children to run, walk, sprint, and play without even thinking about it. But when parts of this structure don't perform as they should, a child's body will compensate for the defect as they grow, the result possibly being long term back pain, joint pain, leg pain, balance issues, or problems with coordination.

One of the challenges with pediatric foot care is the child's inability to articulate problems, and for parents to chalk it up to "growing pains" or "you'll grow out of it". It's important for parents to watch for signs of pain, discomfort, frequent falling, problems walking or running, or difficulties with coordination when playing. A problem discovered and treated early can frequently be corrected with simple measures, avoiding a lifetime of complications and possible abnormalities.

Pediatric foot and ankle tips for parents:

  • East Penn Foot and Ankle Associates is now PA Foot and Ankle AssociatesEast Penn Foot and Ankle Associates is now PA Foot and Ankle AssociatesA young child's feet are very pliable. Shoes that are too tight restrict proper foot development
  • Regular activity helps to develop strong foot and ankle muscles and optimum health. Encourage them to play outside as often as possible
  • Going barefoot at home in a clean environment that's free of sharp objects is a good thing - this helps the feet develop without restriction
  • Watch your child's walking and running patterns and note anything out of the ordinary
  • A baby's flat feet are normal - but as a teen, feet should have well developed arches
  • Recurring episodes of foot pain are not normal and should be addressed as soon as possible - see our page on pediatric heel pain here
  • Swollen feet without explanation could indicate a serious condition and should be evaluated immediately