July is National Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month and a good opportunity for us at Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers to talk about identifying foot problems in children. It’s estimated that 300,000 children in the United States have juvenile arthritis. As with adult-onset arthritis, the name arthritis is an umbrella term to describe hundreds of conditions that affect the joints. With 33 joints in each foot, this condition can have a very debilitating effect on the ability to stand, walk, run and perform most daily tasks. The various forms of juvenile arthritis often share some similar symptoms including joint pain, swelling, redness and warmth at the joint site. Oftentimes, children—especially younger ones—are not able to accurately articulate foot and ankle discomfort.
Signs of Foot Pain
Sometimes parents have to do a bit of sleuthing and go by what their children are doing rather than what they are saying to determine if foot discomfort is present. Some common behaviors that can indicate a foot or ankle problem include:
- A sudden disinterest in playing sports or games that a child has previously enjoyed.
- Lagging behind peers during normal active play like tag or playing outside.
- Sitting on the side while other children are playing.
- Complaining that his or her feet are “tired.”
- Walking on tiptoes or with another abnormal type of walk.
- Frequently tripping or falling.
If you have noticed any of the above behaviors or have any other reason to suspect that your child is experiencing toe, foot or ankle pain, contact our Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140 or Warren (586) 756-3338 office. One of our podiatrists, Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw and Dr. Adam Thompson can do a complete physical examination and determine if your child has a podiatric problem that needs treatment.