We know that October 16 is Dictionary Day (in honor of Noah Webster’s birthday) and we encourage you to use one to look up and learn new words this week. Check the word “bunion” for starters. The dictionary may say it is a swelling by your big toe joint that hurts, but it may not tell you that kids can get them, too. It certainly won’t say that it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible for juvenile bunions—so we’ll tell you instead: don’t wait if your child has a painful bump by his or her big toe!
Even if you start things like shoe modifications, custom orthotics, and pain relievers right away, a small problem could balloon. Bunions are a bigger deal when they start in children. There are many more years for the problem to worsen, for one thing. Fortunately, conservative treatments like shoe inserts, night splints, and others can be surprisingly beneficial. When they don’t work, however, your child may end up with painful feet that are hard to fit and keep them from enjoying their normal activities.
That’s when you may begin considering surgery. It can be a bit trickier in kids because their bones are small and still growing, so you need to be careful not to disturb the growth plate. We prefer to wait until your child’s bones have matured before attempting surgery to correct bunions, but in cases of extreme pain and lack of mobility, the procedure may need to be done earlier.
If the time comes, we will fully explain the procedure we recommend and why it is the best option, as well as what to expect before and after surgery. Recovery from the procedure will mean several weeks without putting weight on the foot, and the probably use of orthotics afterwards to keep bunions from recurring.At Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona, our staff is highly trained and experienced in treating all types of foot problems in children. Gain peace of mind and find expert treatment by a visit with our foot doctors. You can set up an appointment by calling (480) 963-9000 for our Chandler, AZ location and (480) 981-1800 for our office in Gilbert.