Take your eyes off the turkey and be sure to watch your kid’s feet!

Last Thursday’s Thanksgiving and the rest of the upcoming holiday season are the time of year when families all around Columbus gather together, reuniting nieces, nephews, cousins and great grandparents that may not get to see each other as often as they would like.  As young relatives play together, this can provide a great opportunity for parents and other family members to observe and make sure that kids feet and legs are developing in a normal way, similar to other kids of the same age.

Kid’s feet are not simply smaller versions of adult feet.  What may be common in an adult’s foot can be much more serious if seen in a child’s foot.  As kids are growing, the earlier injuries and abnormalities are detected and brought to a podiatrist’s attention, the more treatment options will be available.  Maladies detected early on also have better chances of being corrected more easily and not continuing to pose problems into adolescence and adulthood.

What you thought was a normal behavior may be brought to light as not being the norm when you can observe your child interact with a group of peers.  For example, a child that regularly walks only on their toes is never normal and can be an indication of serious neurological disease.  Certain milestones of development should also occur around the same time in all kids.  Six months is approximately around the time when a baby should first be able to sit up on their own and by around one year a child should be starting to walk.  Slight variation in the timing of these events may be normal.  Kids that seem clumsy compared to other kids of the same age and tend to trip a lot can also be a sign of developmental problems that should be watched carefully.  Even though hammer toes and bunions are relatively common in adults, children who develop these deformities early on can have a more rapid progression of the deformity becoming severe.  Clubfoot is another birth defect that twists the heel and turns the toes upward.  The sooner clubfoot is diagnosed the more likely bracing and casting will be able to lessen the deformity.   Hip dislocation and dysplasia also occur in infants and their incidence is frequently increased in kids with clubfoot or other foot and ankle deformities.

In summary, it is always important to watch the development of your child’s feet and motor skills, and the holidays can provide an additional opportunity to compare your child’s progression with that of other children.  Be sure to contact your podiatrist at the first sign of pain or other abnormal findings – and don’t forget that no matter how cute children’s holiday shoes are, they need to first and foremost fit comfortably!

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia