Many Parents Neglect Their Children's Feet

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Warts, ingrown toenails and foot pain bring thousands of adults to doctors' offices every day. But according to new survey results, released by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) during April's Foot Health Awareness Month, many health-conscious parents don't have high standards of foot health when it comes to their children's feet. In fact, only 25 percent of parents have taken their children to a podiatrist for treatment of foot ailments.

The survey, taken from a group of 620 parents with children under the age of 18, found that 35 percent of those surveyed would not be motivated to take their child to a medical professional if their child complained of foot or leg pain. Furthermore, only 49 percent of parents surveyed would take their child to a podiatrist's office for ingrown toenails -- which, if left untreated, can lead to significant pain and a loss in normal activity.

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"This new information proves that many parents still aren't aware of two important things -- prompt examination of a child's foot ailments, and having the examination performed by a podiatrist," said APMA president Dr. Ross Taubman. "Remember -- foot pain is not normal. It is very important that parents understand the vital role a podiatrist has in diagnosing and treating all kinds of pediatric foot conditions."

When parents do choose to bring their child to a professional to resolve foot problems, nearly 48 percent of parents said their child was treated by a professional other than a foot specialist -- a podiatrist. An APMA member podiatrist frequently diagnoses and treats all types of pediatric foot conditions, including broken bones, cuts and abrasions, in-toeing, flat feet and skin conditions such as athlete's foot and warts, among others.

One of the reasons that parents may not be attentive enough to their children's foot care is a lack of understanding of many key foot ailments. Just two out of every 10 sets of parents surveyed said they have dealt with sports injuries affecting their children's feet. Even fewer (10 percent) said they have had to attend to potentially painful warts.

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