More Information on Children's Foot Health

Common ​Children's Foot Conditions

From birth to the teenage years, a child's foot changes dramatically in size and even in shape.  Taking good care of young, growing feet during these years can help to prevent or minimize foot problems into adulthood.  Some common conditions that may be develop during these early years are listed below.  Contact your Foot Specialist for help treating these conditions.


  • Athlete's Foot or Dry, Itchy Feet
    • Dry, scaly or itchy skin on the feet or in between the toes may be a sign of athlete's foot, which is a fungal infection of the skin. Wearing breathable leather or mesh shoes with socks made of natural or synthetic blends may help as well as using a foot powder inside your shoes to minimize moisture build-up.
    • Avoid walking or showering barefoot in any public areas, such as a bathroom or locker room. Fungi thrive in warm, damp areas and these areas are usually a perfect environment for them. Wear shower shoes or pool shoes with a non-slip sole in these areas to prevent this infection from transferring to your feet. Remember to wash and completely dry these shoes on a regular basis too!
    • Your Foot Specialist can evaluate your shoes & socks, recommend a good foot powder and also prescribe a topical or oral anti-fungal medication.
  • Discolored Toe Nails
    • Unusual nail color such as yellow, brown or black may be caused by a fungus or an injury to the toe/nail. Wearing breathable shoes & socks made of natural or synthetic blends may help as well as using a foot powder inside your shoes to minimize moisture build-up.  Your Foot Specialist can evaluate your shoes & socks, recommend a good foot powder and also prescribe a topical or oral anti-fungal medication.
    • In some cases, discoloration that comes from under the nail may be a sign of skin cancer. It is best to have your Foot Specialist take a look & confirm the cause .  They can also help coordinate the appropriate treatments. 
    • Toe nail polish may also discolor the nail. Allow toe nails a few days or even a  few weeks to "breathe" in between applications of new toe nail polish.
    • If the problem persists, please contact your Foot Specialist for an appointment  so they determine the cause of the discoloration and set-up appropriate treatment for the condition.
  • Flat Feet
    • Having flat feet is very common in young children, and can even be found in some adults, though the underlying cause may vary from patient to patient.  In some cases, flat feet can be cased from an injury to the feet.
    • Having a "flat foot" means that the middle of the foot is not well developed - usually it is either completely flat (no curve) or with only a partial curve in the area of the arch.
    • Some patients do not experience any pain, while most others may have pain, cramping, redness, tenderness or swelling on the bottom of the foot. They may also limp or complain that their legs and feet feel "tired".  Many parents refer to these symptoms as "growing pains" without realizing there may actually be an issue with the child's foot structure.  
    • In some cases the patient may also experience back, knee and/or leg pain. This is due to the loss of the arches in the feet that are needed to properly support the rest of the body.
    • Early diagnosis & intervention is very beneficial in helping the patient fix the problem with less invasive, conservative care & helping them get back to normal activities. This may include physical therapy, use of shoe inserts (also known as Orthotics), decreased activity, anti-inflammatory medication, to name a few.  The longer a patient has suffered from flat feet, the more likely that they may need more extensive treatments, including surgery, to correct it as the ligaments and tendons in your feet may become stretched & strained over time.  Your Foot Specialist will be able to offer different treatment options based on the severity of the condition.
  • Frequent Falls or Tripping
    • Repeated falls or frequent tripping may indicate in-toeing, balance problems or neuro-muscular conditions.  Its important to discuss this concern with your child's Pediatrician and/or with your Foot Specialist to determine the  cause(s) so they can develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for the underlying condition(s).
  • Ingrown Toe Nails
    • Warmth, redness & pain or sensitivity are present. The part of the nail that is ingrown is not usually visible as it is typically buried deep under the skin.  Sometimes, but not always, an infection may also be present. 
    • Ingrown nails can be caused by ill-fitting shoes that limit
    • Your Foot Specialist can help relieve some of the pressure caused by this condition and prescribe antibiotics for infection. If the part of the nail that is buried under your skin needs to be removed, your Foot Specialist is trained 
  • Injury to Toes or Toe Nails
    • Usually caused by stubbing a toe or dropping something heavy on the foot or toe. Repetitive rubbing inside tight or ill-fitting shoes can also cause injuries to a toe or a toenail. Symptoms may include pain with redness, blood or bruising on the foot or toe, a thickened, cracked, loose or loss of toe nail(s). 
    • Your Foot Specialist can take an x-ray of the affected area and see if any bones were fractured or broken & they can help you with appropriate medical or possibly even surgical treatments based on the severity of the injury.
  • In-toeing
    • Also referred to as "pigeon-toed", this condition is when the feet turn inward instead of pointing straight ahead when walking or running. It is usually noticed when a baby first starts walking but it can also appear in children at various ages as well.
    • This condition usually corrects itself with minimal to no intervention by around 8 years old. 
    • In-toeing itself does not cause pain but may cause a child to fall or trip over their feet more often. If a child complains of pain or swelling or limps when walking, they should be evaluated by a Foot Specialist to check for injuries or bio-mechanical abnormalities.
  • Sweaty Feet
    • Socks may be damp after wear. Skin may also be damp and look white or wrinkly. Sometimes the skin will break down from the excess moisture and become broken or cracked. It is recommended that you wash your feet every day with soap & water then dry feet well with a clean towel - don't forget in between your toes! 
    • After a bath, shower or using a pool, it is a good idea to allow the skin on your feet about 10-15 minutes to dry completely before putting on your socks & shoes. 
    • Wearing breathable leather or mesh shoes with socks made of natural or synthetic blends may help as well as using a foot powder inside your shoes to minimize moisture build-up. Changing in to a clean pair of socks part way through the day may also help. When possible, allow your feet some time to get some "air" - with no shoes or socks on - every day. 
    • Your Foot Specialist can evaluate your shoes & socks, recommend a good foot powder and also prescribe a topical or oral anti-fungal medication.
  • Plantar Warts
    • Plantar warts are small, hard & painful growths that appear on the feet or toes. They are most commonly found on the heel or the ball of the foot. Due to the pressure on these areas of the foot, the plantar wart(s) may grow under a hard, thick layer of skin, which causes them to be easily confused with a callous. They are typically the same color as your skin but may have tiny black dots on the surface. Plantar warts grow deep under the skin & may be painful, especially when walking or standing.
    • They are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the same virus that causes warts anywhere else on the body. 
    • Some plantar warts may clear up on their own but for those who want faster relief or treatment, it is recommended to talk with you Foot Specialist about the condition.  There are several different types of treatments available from prescription oral or topical medications to surgery to remove the wart.
    • Please keep in mind that many "folk remedies" do exist but remain unproven and, at times, can do more harm then good.  Even some O-T-C wart medications may be too strong for a child's delicate skin.


Below are articles published by other Podiatric Professionals that can provide you additional information & tips on Children's Foot Health. Please click on the name of the article to learn more.


  • When should I worry about My Child's Foot Pain?
    • ​When a child is experiencing leg pain, parents might not consider the foot as the source, especially because some foot disorders can also cause symptoms in the leg. When it comes to foot-related problems, early intervention by an expert is the key to proper treatment.   Source: www.acfas.org
  • When to Fix Kids' Feet?
    • ​Identifying the difference between growing pains and injuries can be difficult for a parent. Since children are growing and active, they can easily take a fall or two without skipping a beat. But if something seems more serious than the typical tumble, it is important to pay attention to early signs and symptoms.  Sourcewww.acfas.org
  • Back-to-School Shoe Shopping Tips
    • ​The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) offers helpful guidelines to in a quick-reference infographic to help minimize foot problems caused by poorly fitting or worn out shoes.   Source: www.acfas.org