Teenagers tend to ignore a lot of things – chores, curfew, hygiene, and yes, even their parents. Included in that list is foot pain. Not only do they ignore preventatively caring for their feet, they also ignore pain when it presents itself. Pain in general brings about a response of “shake it off” or “take a minute,” but then it is ignored. This can sometimes result in worse consequences later on.
Surprisingly, more than half of teenagers live with some kind of pain in their feet or ankles.
So what might be causing their issues?
- Sports Injuries – Mild injuries that may be ignored can become worse when the injury is repetitive or uncared for. The most prevalent sports injuries in teenagers include shin splints, Osgood Schlatter disease, Calcaneal Apophysitis, and apophysitis at the base of the fifth metatarsal (Iselin’s disease).
- Hereditary Traits – Some genetic traits may leave them prone to developmental issues such as weak bones or bony growths.
- Shoes that do not fit well – Since teenagers can grow at rapid rates, their feet may outgrow their shoes quickly. When toes become crowded, they can be prone to deformity or injury.
- Fashion shoes may cause minor injuries including blisters and calluses, and have the potential to cause pain in the arch and heel.
- Poor posture and walking habits – Teenagers can develop unhealthy habits such as dragging feet or slouching while walking. When gait is not corrected, muscle tissues can be strained.
- Lack of Awareness – Teenagers may just not know much about proper foot maintenance and care.
During International Podiatry Day, we want to help you help your teens. Here are some tips you can share with them:
- Wash feet each day with soap and water. Afterwards, let them completely dry before putting on socks.
- Make sure they know how to properly cut toenails. They should be cut straight instead of curved in order to prevent ingrown toenails.
- Tell them to check for any signs of new growth on their feet, such as warts, fungal rash, cuts, blisters, etc. They should be treated quickly to prevent worsening symptoms.
- If they outgrow their shoes, they should tell you promptly so that you can get them re-measured before buying new shoes. Shoes should be supportive and comfortable.
- Choose footwear that is appropriate for activities they engage in, especially since they are made for the particular sport. Cleats should be worn for some sports like football or soccer, while climbing shoes should be used at the rock gym.
Australian Podiatry Association (APodA) member podiatrist as part of Foot Health Month 2014