February is International Friendship Month. Encourage your children to value their friends. They can have fun making friendship bracelets, playing games, or going on a special outing together. You may not have thought of it this way, but children’s feet are their friends, too. They allow your kids to walk, run, jump, play sports, and do all sorts of fun things. You can look out for the health of these “friends” by paying close attention to them. Catching a condition like bunions in children early is the key to helping avoid painful problems and possible surgery down the road.
Juvenile bunions can form as early as age 6. The usual causes are the foot structure and gait they inherit, which pressure the big toe to lean inward, forcing the big toe joint to jut out. This condition is often associated with flat feet, but when it occurs in teenage girls, tight, pointed shoes can contribute to the issue, too. The deformity can also be the result of trauma or injury, so make sure you seek medical help whenever your child injures his or her feet.
The usual conservative treatment methods for bunions in children include proper shoe choice, using protective padding, or fitting them with custom orthotics to correct the faulty gait and redistribute pressure away from the toe. Sometimes night splints can help straighten growing toes as well.
At Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center, our podiatrists have also been using a procedure called epiphysiodesis. It involves inserting a staple on one side of the first metatarsal growth plate. This stops growth on that side, while the other side of the bone keeps growing and helps straighten the joint.
Our podiatrists are experts at all types of foot reconstruction surgery, so if your child’s bunions still cause problems once he or she has stopped growing, we can discuss other surgical procedures that may help. Give us a call at (303) 423-2520 to schedule a consultation at one of our Denver area offices today. You can also request an appointment on our website. We’ll treat your child’s feet like friends!
Photo credit: Daniel St.Pierre via FreeDigitalPhotos.net