Since having our baby girl in 2012, I find myself looking at children’s feet EVEN more than I used to! Children can be born with certain mechanical abnormalities. As parents, we can look for certain problems and work on resolving them even before they become an issue!
One of the most common problems is a bunion bump. A bunion is a bump formed at the big toe joint. It is caused (in adults) by a muscle imbalance due to how we walk. In babies, a bunion can be formed by the bones not lining up correctly as a child grows (even before they walk). This type of bunion is important to look out for two reasons:
1. Early detection and correction of the problem (either through corrective splints, shoes, or surgery) can help the child minimize the pain associated with a bunion as an adult.
2. Sometimes having a juvenile bunion is a sign of having other mechanical problems and it is always good to get them checked out early!!
Lots of people (kids included) will have bunions without pain. The earlier a bunion forms (i.e. in childhood), the more likely there will be arthritis associated with the deformity, so again, early detection is KEY to addressing this problem. There are several conservative and surgical options to address a juvenile bunion as well.
Jeopardy Fun Fact!! (I got this one from browsing Wikipedia last night) Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia (the one who people weren’t sure if she died with her family in 1918 and they made a Disney movie about her) had a juvenile bunion!! It was painful and she wore corrective shoes to aid in helping the problem throughout her life.
If you have questions about your child’s feet, please feel free to contact me, Dr. Melissa Lockwood, at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates at 309-661-9975 or www.heartlandfootandankle.com.