Grapevine doctors for children's foot problems

It is never normal for a child to experience pain in their feet. Foot pain that lasts more than a few days or that limits a child’s ability to walk should be examined by a podiatrist as soon as possible. It’s easy to shrug off kids’ complaints of foot pain as “growing pains” or complaints of injuries as something they can “walk off,” but any persistent pain and acute injuries should be examined by a medical professional, just like adult foot conditions.

Some foot conditions are genetic and exist from the time of birth, while others develop in early childhood and worsen over time. Either way, determining your child’s foot condition early can help control or minimize the issue, set your child up for a better lifelong outcome, and relieve pain and discomfort.

Our skilled podiatrists review the most common child foot problems, including pediatric flat foot, Sever’s disease, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts. We’ll also address how you can help your children’s feet develop in a healthy way and what signs and symptoms to look for.

Your Children's Healthy Feet Through the Years

A child’s feet grow rapidly during the first year. Consequently, foot specialists consider the first year to be the most crucial point in the foot development process. There are ways you can help ensure that your child’s feet develop properly. One way is to carefully look at your baby’s feet. If you notice any children's foot problems or deformities, you should immediately seek professional care.

You should also loosely cover your child’s foot, since tight coverings may prevent movement and inhibit normal development. Another tip is to change the baby’s positioning throughout the day. If your baby lies down in one spot for too long, it may put an excessive amount of strain on the feet and legs.

When your child becomes a toddler, it is best that you try not to force a child to start walking. Children will begin to walk when they are both physically and emotionally capable to do so. You should also avoid comparing your child’s walking progress with other children because the age range for independent walking varies. When your child’s feet begin to develop, you may need to change both their shoe and sock size every few months to allow room for their feet to grow.

Your Child’s Feet During School-Aged Years

As your child grows during their school-aged years, you can further protect your child’s foot in the following ways:

  • Ensure that your child has well-fitting shoes and socks. Kids’ feet grow fast, and wearing tight shoes can cause painful problems, and wearing shoes that are too big can also lead to issues.
  • Discourage bare feet outside. While you may have nostalgic memories of running around the yard without shoes as a child, going barefoot can cause cuts, infections, and other foot problems.
  • Establish good foot hygiene. Clean feet, clean socks, and trimmed toenails are the foundation for healthy feet. Wash and treat any cuts or scrapes.
  • Encourage exercise. Sports and other activities strengthen the feet and increase mobility, balance, and agility. All of these can help your child stay healthy for decades to come.
  • Schedule routine check-ups. Make regular well-child visits, so a doctor can examine your child’s legs and feet annually.

Common Children’s Foot Conditions and Problems

As a parent, you should check your child’s feet often. You need to watch for proper development and keep them properly maintained. These routine inspections will help you detect any injuries or deformities in their early stages. Early detection and treatment will help ensure that your child does not develop any serious foot conditions.

Some foot conditions are found only in children. Here are the top seven conditions we see most often in our young patients at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists:

Sever's Disease

Sever's disease is a common heel condition in children that typically develops during periods of rapid growth spurts. It involves inflammation of the growth plate in the heel bone. Symptoms include heel pain, especially during or after physical activities, and difficulty walking. Treatment often involves rest, ice application, wearing proper footwear, and stretching exercises to alleviate tension on the heel.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are noncancerous skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). In children, these warts often develop on the soles of the feet, growing inward due to pressure from walking. The small, fleshy growths may be flecked with tiny black dots, and may be painful to walk on. Treatment may involve over-the-counter medications, freezing, or a minor surgical procedure to remove the wart.

Pediatric Flat Foot

Pediatric flat foot refers to a condition where the arch of the foot is flattened, either due to genetics or developmental factors. Some children (and adults) with flat feet may not report any pain or problems. However, in some cases, the condition may lead to foot pain, difficulty walking, or problems participating in physical activities. Treatment may include supportive footwear, orthotic inserts, and exercises to strengthen the muscles and arch.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails develop when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling. In children, improper nail trimming or tight footwear may contribute to this condition. Treatment involves warm soaks, proper nail-cutting techniques, and sometimes minor surgical procedures to remove the ingrown portion of the nail.

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that commonly affects children, especially those who participate in sports or share communal spaces. Symptoms include itching, redness, and peeling of the skin on the feet. Treatment many involve antifungal medications, ensuring good foot hygiene, and keeping the feet dry.


Pigeon-toeing, or in-toeing, is a common deformity in children. With this condition, a child's feet turn inward instead of pointing straight ahead. In most cases, pigeon-toeing resolves on its own as the child grows. However, persistent cases may require medical evaluation to rule out underlying issues.


Toe-walking is a walking pattern in which a child consistently walks on their toes instead of their entire foot. While it can be a normal part of early development, persistent toe-walking may be a sign of an underlying issue, such as tight calf muscles. Treatment may involve physical therapy, stretches, and sometimes orthotic devices to encourage a normal walking pattern.

Signs You Should Take Your Child to the Podiatrist

Talk to your child’s pediatrician or podiatrist if you notice any of the below signs or symptoms:

  • Your child is walking with pigeon toes or with bow legs
  • You notice a significant change in your child’s feet
  • You notice an irregularity or deformity on your child’s feet
  • Your child is complaining of persistent foot pain
  • Your child develops a limp or is suddenly unable to walk with their normal gait
  • Your child does not develop arched feet around the age of 3 or 4

Bringing Your Child to the Podiatrist

We have extensive experience working with children, and an appointment with the podiatrist should never be scary or painful. While our medical team works to make our office a safe and warm place for kids, you can prepare your child for a visit in the following ways:

  • Speak to them about the reason for the visit and how it will help them be healthy.
  • Role-play a doctor’s office visit with your child, perhaps with the help of a favorite doll or stuffed animal.
  • Make sure your child is dressed comfortably in pants that can easily be rolled up.
  • Make a list of questions that your child would like to ask the podiatrist.