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Exams of the feet and ankles ensure that your child's bones are growing correctly. Your doctor can also make sure that your child is walking right. This helps prevent some future foot problems. And if a problem does arise, it can be handled early—when it is easiest to treat.
During a foot exam, the doctor will watch your toddler walk. If a gait problem exists, the doctor works to identify its cause.
To help with severe flat feet, special shoes or orthoses (custom-made shoe inserts) may be prescribed.
To correct mild toeing-in, your toddler may need to sit in a different position while playing or watching TV.
If your child's feet turn in or out a lot, corrective shoes, splints, or night braces may be prescribed. Wearing these devices can help reposition the foot as it grows.
The foot`s bone structure is pretty well formed by the time your child reaches age 7 or 8. But if a growth plate (the area where bone growth begins) is injured, the damaged plate may cause the bone to grow oddly. With a doctor's care, however, the risk of future bone problems is reduced.
If an injury is mild, your child probably will not remember it for very long. But if your child keeps complaining of pain, have the injury checked by a doctor. Also, call the doctor anytime an injury causes serious swelling, localized tenderness, limping, or ongoing night pains.
If a bone or growth plate is damaged, your child may need to use crutches to take weight off the injury as it heals. In the case of fracture, a cast, splint, or brace may be needed to hold the bone in place during healing.