Find a PhysicianContact Us    facebook_icon40.png  twitter_icon40.png  youtube_icon40.png
   LOCATIONS & DIRECTIONS      CLASSES & EVENTS      CAREERS      CONTACT US      HOME     
Quick Links
cne_talks_health.gif


qualitymattersmemorial.jpg
Help your child start off on the right foot
pediatricpod1.jpg
Maybe you’ve noticed that your child seems to be having trouble running up the soccer field, or perhaps that old expression about having “two left feet” seems to describe a child who falls often, even when nothing is blocking the way. 

Problems with the feet are not unusual as a child grows and begins walking and running more. Common problems include: 

Having flat feet
  • Toe walking, which is when a person steps out on the toes putting little or no weight on the rest of the foot
  • Walking with feet turned inward, which is also called pigeon toed or in-toeing
  • Walking with the feet turned outward, which is also called out-toeing
  • Developing hammertoes or bunions
  • Developing dermatological conditions like plantar warts and ingrown toenails 

For some of these conditions, or just unknown foot and leg pain, your child should be evaluated by a foot and ankle specialist, according to Jason Mallette, DPM, co-founder of The Children’s Foot Center of Rhode Island in the The Children’s Foot Center of Rhode IslandPediatrics Department of Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. 

“Some signs and symptoms that may necessitate an evaluation in our office include in- or out-toeing. The child may be clumsy and fall a lot, especially while playing sports. Or the child might complain of foot or lower leg pain after extended periods of activity,” Dr. Mallette says. 

Most children’s foot issues can be treated easily and effectively. Dr. Mallette recently helped a girl with knee and hip pain, giving her a thorough biomechanical exam which revealed she had deformities that caused her lower legs to twist, flat feet, and one leg that was longer than the other. 

“We fit her with custom molded orthotics to correct her foot deformity and address her limb length,” Dr. Mallette says. “Her knee and hip pain subsided and her gait was optimized.” 

Other foot and ankle conditions require surgical intervention, although they have excellent results. A toe walker, for example, recently underwent a procedure to lengthen his Achilles tendon to bring his heel back down to the ground. This eliminated the pain the boy was experiencing from just walking and improving his gait. 

If left unaddressed, many pediatric foot issues can quickly become more severe as the child approaches adulthood. Others will resolve on their own, making a physical exam necessary to determine which foot issue is which, Dr. Mallette explains. 

“Many life-long foot problems begin in childhood and early detection and intervention can impact the progress of these disorders,” he says. “Leg or foot pain is usually indicative of an underlying problem.” 

Growing pains? 
Adolescents may experience pain in the feet, ankles and/or legs as a result of growth spurts at the growth plate centers, commonly called growing pains. These growth plates separate bone and cartilage in younger children and begin to close as the cartilage turns to bone in puberty. 

“The most common area for pain related to the growth plate is behind the heel. As children play sports, they may overuse the foot and ankle and the Achilles tendon pull on the heel’s growth plate which causes inflammation,” Dr. Mallette says. 

Children who already have flat feet or other foot problems suffer the most with growing pains. They will usually be fitted for an orthotic to properly position and strengthen their feet and muscles, Dr. Mallette says. 

For more information, call the Children’s Foot Center in the Pediatrics Department of Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island at (401) 729-2582.

Have a Question? Call 1-800-647-4362 to speak with our physician referral service

brown_med.jpg

joint_commission_ri_goldseal.gif 
 Search for a Doctor

Memorial Info

Care New England
  Butler Hospital
  Kent Hospital
  VNA of CNE
  Women & Infants


Contact Us 

Locations & Directions 
Departments & Programs
  Cancer
  Cardiology
  Emergency Services
  Family Care Center
  Hernia Center
  Maternity
  Rehabilitation
  Pediatrics
  Podiatry
  Stroke Center
  Surgical Services
  
  View all services

Patient Guide
  Downloadable Guide
  Visitors Information
  Medical Records
  Billing
  Questions & Concerns

Education & Research
  Family Medicine Residency
  Internal Medicine Residency
  School of Nurse Anesthesia
  Podiatric Surgery Residency
 
 Follow Us Online at:

facebook_icon40.png  twitter_icon40.png  youtube_icon40.png  
© 2013 MHRI, 111 Brewster Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860 (401) 729-2000 public_relations@mhri.org
Site credits & acknowledgements.