Alexandra K. Grulke, DPM, FACFAS, CWS
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Trained in all aspects of podiatry, with special focus in pediatrics and foot/ankle reconstructive surgery

Back to School - Prevent Foot Pain

Kids are heading back to school, with backpacks packed, lunches filled with nutritious food and heads waiting to be filled with information. However, one thing that they kids should not have as they start the school year is foot pain. Foot pain is not normal in kids or adults. Most kids have been wearing flip flops all summer long and now as they head back to school it is not uncommon for foot pain to have developed. What problems may your kids complain about?

First, flip flops do not offer support or cushion. Kids can develop arch pain from the lack of support from flip flops. This develops from the Posterior Tibial Tendon, the major supporter of the arch, can develop a tendonitis, or inflammation around the tendon. As the tendon works hard to hold up the arch the bones continue to allow the foot to roll in and cause the tendon to become inflamed and over used. Pain can be sharp or achy in the instep or around the inside of the ankle.

Another problem that can develop from long term flip flop usage is heel pain. Adults heel pain is a result of a strain or pulling of a long ligament on the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. However, children with heel pain is normally the result of an irritation of a growth plate. Achilles tendon, is tight and pulls on the growth plate of the heel bone or from a lack of cushion at the growth plate. According to ACFAS, American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, " People often don't realize that even into your mid-teens, there's new bone growing in your heel. Flip-flops don't cushion the heel, so repetitive stress from walking can inflame that heel bone growth area and cause pain and tenderness".

Bones grow in length at a growth plate. This is an area of soft tissue between two bones where new bone is produced. If there is a tension across this area, inflammation and pain can result. Normally, tension can result if the heel cord,

Now that they are back to school and out of flip flops, make sure they are rotating their shoes. Fungus lives in everyone's shoes including children. The fungus likes the dark moist environment. If shoes are worn daily, especially when the feet perspire, this could lead to an overgrowth of fungus in the shoes. Fungus is the cause of athlete's feet infections, a fungal skin infection, and onychomycosis, fungal toenails. By rotating the shoes and treating the shoes with an anti fungal spray you can reduce the fungus within the shoes and reduce the chance of developing fungal issues.

To make sure the kids are starting with their best foot forward this school year make sure they are starting the school year without foot pain.
Have a safe and happy school year!

Dr. Alexandra "Sandie" Grulke

I never realized that flip flops would be so damaging to children's feet! My kids wear flip flops a lot during the summer, but I didn't know they could cause pains. If they ever start getting pain in their heels or arches, then we might have to wear better shoes for now on.
by Derek Dewitt December 14, 2017 at 10:19 AM
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