If you work with obese children, you may need to become more aware of how their condition is affecting their feet. Doctors with the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) say they’re noticing more and more overweight and obese children with foot and ankle pain. A vicious circle of foot pain and obesity may hinder some children from progressing. “You want overweight children to exercise and lose weight, but because of their weight, their feet hurt and they can’t exercise,” says Thanh Dinh, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon in Boston, in a press release.
The foot is a complex structure consisting of 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Last November, researchers in Britain reported “alarming new evidence that childhood obesity changes foot structure and results in instability when walking.” Being overweight flattens the foot, straining the plantar fascia—a band of tissue that runs from the heel to the base of the toes—and causing heel pain. Because the heel bone is not fully developed until age 14 or older, overweight children are more prone to foot pain. Being overweight may also cause stress fractures (hairline breaks) in the heel bones of children.
For more information on pediatric foot and ankle conditions, visit www.footphysicians.com.