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A new survey suggests that parents may be giving scant attention to their
children’s feet, which may put their kids at risk for serious foot health problems. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, many parents don’t have high standards of foot health when it comes to their children’s feet. The survey of 620 parents with children under the age of 18, found that:
• 35 percent of parents would not take their child to a medical professional if their child complained of foot or leg pain.
• Only 49 percent of parents surveyed would take their child to a podiatrist’s office for ingrown toenails – which, if left untreated, can lead to significant pain and a loss in normal activity
• Only 25 percent of parents have taken their children to a podiatrist for treatment of foot ailments, suggesting the feet of young children are often not high on the priority list for parents.
“Many common foot ailments first present themselves during childhood,” said Illinois Podiatric Medical Association spokesperson Misty McNeill, DPM, a podiatrist from Elmhurst, Ill. whose practice comprises about 50 percent children.
“These problems, which can begin subtly, often last an entire lifetime unless parents choose to find the right footwear for children. It is extremely satisfying to see large numbers of the footwear industry becoming proactive in encouraging children’s foot health.”
Many children rarely complain about foot pain. Problems, if ignored can lead to foot ailments such as in-toeing, plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. From the first year of life
– one of the most critical in foot development – and onward, children regularly encounter a variety of obstacles that can be detrimental to foot health.
IPMA member podiatrists frequently diagnose and treat all types of pediatric foot conditions, including broken bones, cuts and abrasions, in-toeing, flat feet and skin conditions such as athlete’s foot and warts, among others. One of the reasons that parents may not be attentive enough to their children’s foot care is a lack of understanding of many key foot ailments. Just two out of every 10 moms and dads surveyed said that have dealt with sports injuries affecting their children’s feet. Even fewer (10 percent) said they have had to attend to potentially painful warts.
With back to school shopping getting underway, there is a growing number of companies with foot products for children that focus less on flashy cartoon character adornment and more on protective aspects such as flexibility and durability.