Problems at Any Age
In most cases, children face the same painful foot problems as adults. From painful heels to low arches, young feet are not immune. Although it’s much less common in children and adolescents than it is in adults, they can also develop bunion deformities. These juvenile bunions are slightly different from their grow-up counter-parts, but they affect growing feet in painfully similar ways.
How Children Develop Bunions
In adults, bunions develop slowly over years of abnormal pressure or poor biomechanics pushing the first metatarsal and big toe out of proper alignment. Children and teenagers, however, haven’t had the time, wear, and tear that adults have—so juvenile bunions, also called adolescent bunions, develop slightly differently. This condition is the result of unusually loose or flexible ligaments around the joints in the foot, particularly with flat feet. This makes the bones more susceptible to spreading and moving out of alignment.
Excessive pressure on the forefoot from overpronation, shoe choices, and a few other factors then cause the first metatarsal to tilt away from its neighbors, while the big toe tilts inward. The joint where the two meet then bumps out to the side, creating a hard bulge. Because this is a bony deformity, this condition doesn’t improve on its own; rather, it tends to get worse without treatment.
The Effects on Young Feet
Symptoms of juvenile bunions are very similar to their adult counterparts. Your son or daughter will develop a hard bump on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe. This bump can rub against shoes and feel very uncomfortable when your son or daughter is too active or spends too much time standing. Often the bump will be red, irritated, and swollen. The foot may be more prone to blisters, corns, or calluses. Eventually, wearing certain shoe styles can become very uncomfortable and regular activities might be more difficult.
Managing the Deformity
For the vast majority of adolescent bunions, conservative care is enough to relieve pain and prevent the problem from getting worse. Our team at Absolute Foot Care Specialists will need to examine the deformity to determine how serious it is. Then we can help your son or daughter manage it properly.
The more important step is to alleviate the pressure that is causing the problem. This means making shoe changes. Have your child stick to shoe styles with low heels and wide, rounded toe boxes. There needs to be sufficient arch support as well. Custom orthotics can correct biomechanical problems that may have led to the issue, as well as control abnormal foot motion. If friction on the bump causes discomfort, help your child place a moleskin or gel pad in place to protect his or her foot. Surgery is reserved for advanced cases that conservative methods haven’t helped.
Although it’s not common, children do develop bunions. Adolescent or juvenile bunion deformities can be just as painful and limiting in children and teens as they are in adults. Don’t let your son or daughter’s foot pain progress. Deal with the problem before it becomes serious. Our experts at Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas are happy to help. For more information or an appointment, use our website. You can also call us directly at (702) 839-2010.