Pediatric Foot & Ankle Care Specialist

Nina L. Coletta, DPM, PA

Podiatrist located in Plantation, FL

Did you know that your child’s feet don’t stop growing until sometime between the ages of 13 and 15? Up to that time, they’re prone to a range of developmental foot conditions, as well as problems related to the presence of growth plates. As a pediatric specialist, Nina Coletta DPM, PA, located in Plantation, Florida, understands the particular conditions involved in providing comprehensive foot and ankle care for children and their growing bones, ligaments, and tendons. If you live in Broward County, call or use online booking to schedule an appointment today.

Pediatric Foot & Ankle Care Q & A

What Are Common Developmental Foot Conditions?

Since children’s feet are in a perpetual state of development, they’re susceptible to a variety of growth-related problems and deformities. Although developmental conditions aren’t as standard as less severe foot and ankle ailments like ingrown toenails, proper diagnosis and care from an expert like Dr. Coletta is just as important.

Some of the most common developmental foot and ankle conditions including:

Pediatric Flatfoot

Children are expected to have flat feet up to about the age of five when they start to develop arches. Pediatric flatfoot occurs when the curvature of the foot never extends or collapses, making the sole look flat.

Children who have flexible flatfoot often outgrow the condition as they continue to develop, while those diagnosed with rigid flatfoot may have an underlying bone problem.

Tip-toeing, Out-toeing, And In-toeing

Although it’s common for toddlers to cruise around on their tippy toes or walk with their toes pointed outward or inward, these early walking patterns should correct themselves as your child grows.

Children who walk on their tiptoes past age 3 or are still out-toeing or in-toeing past age 8 or 9 should see Dr. Coletta make sure they don’t develop a permanent biomechanical imbalance, such as a shortened Achilles tendon.  

Sever’s Disease

Sever’s disease, or growth plate inflammation in the heel, is one of the most common pediatric developmental conditions. It occurs during the years preceding adolescence, affecting girls between ages 8-10 and boys between ages 10-13.

Sever’s disease is generally the result of too much stress on the heel bone when it’s actively growing. It’s more common in children who play sports, particularly those that involve running or jumping. Although Sever’s disease usually resolves itself once the preadolescent growth spurt ends, proper treatment can help alleviate pain.    

What Is A Growth Plate Injury?

Growth plates are soft points on either end of a bone that continue to form new bone as your child grows and develops. Most growth plate injuries develop due to acute trauma, such as a fall or a twisted ankle. Children are more prone to growth plate injuries than adults, and about 15% of all pediatric bone fractures are growth plate injuries.

If your child is complaining of a severe heel or ankle pain, it’s important to bring them in to see Dr. Coletta right away. As a pediatric specialist, she’s specially trained to diagnose growth plate injuries and provide prompt treatment so the bone will continue to grow.

How Can I Help My Baby’s Feet Develop Naturally?

There’s a lot you can do to promote healthy foot and ankle development as your baby grows, including:

  • Tickling your baby’s feet and playing with their toes to encourage foot and ankle flexibility
  • Providing moisture-wicking socks that keep your baby’s feet dry and warm
  • Making sure your baby’s socks aren’t so tight that they restrict circulation to the feet
  • Choosing shoes with a loose toe box that leaves a bit of room for growth
  • Not putting shoes on your toddler when you’re at home as walking barefoot helps them strengthen the muscles and tendons in their feet

To learn more about pediatric foot and ankle care, call Dr. Coletta’s office or schedule an appointment online today.