SAPA_-_teen.jpegWith teenage years come growing pains - both figuratively and literally. One of the first areas affected during this period of intense change is actually the feet! If your kid’s feet suddenly jumped up a size, it’s a good indication that they’re about to hit a growth spurt.

The teenage years are an important time to develop good foot care habits and stick to them. Any issues that adolescents experience with their fast-growing feet could even follow them to adulthood if left untreated. Teens, however, are often so overwhelmed with other things these days - final exams, social issues, sports, music, and everything else - that caring for their feet can be the furthest thing from their minds.

We know raising a teen can be just as overwhelming. That’s why we put together some info and tips on how to help your teen care for their feet.

Common Issues During the Teen Years

There are numerous factors - both development or lifestyle-related - that can lead to foot issues in young folks.

  • Growth spurts change the gait: Our body’s growth plates, which produce bone tissue, work overtime during adolescence, producing non-stop until the age of 15. Sometimes physical changes occur so fast that the brain can’t keep up. This can cause a teen’s gait to appear clumsy or awkward - especially if their feet just shot up a size. If you’re ever worried about the way your child is walking, we can help with a gait assessment. If there are any issues, we can help treat them as your kid grows and changes.
  • Footwear is important: Often teens will prioritize style over comfort, which can quickly lead to issues. Too-tight shoes, like heels, can force the feet into unnatural positions. This can cause painful conditions like ingrown toenails or life-long deformities like bunions. Teens should also change their shoes up. Kicking around in the same pair of shoes day in, day out can also cause problems, especially if they are participating in sports! A warm, damp shoe can easily cultivate athlete’s foot. Worn-out shoes also don’t provide enough support, which can cause foot pain.
  • Feet become sweaty and stinky with adolescence: Puberty activates the sweat glands. Since our foot harbors a quarter of a million sweat glands, teens can easily develop stinky feet. Foot odor is unpleasant at any age, but can be quite embarrassing for teens who put a lot of worth in their self-image. Feet should be cleaned and dried daily to keep sweat from lingering. If your teen has good hygiene and still retains foot odor or seems excessively sweaty, schedule them for a check up.
  • Physical activity can trigger pain: Teens seem to start a new sport or pick up a new hobby like skateboarding at the drop of a hat. It’s great to keep them active, but also know their limitations. Teen’s arches are not as strong and springy as adults’, which could lead to arch or heel pain.

The good news is that the teenage years are just one more temporary stage of life. They come with their challenges, but also their formative rewards. As with most other things in these years, building healthy habits can help set your teen up for success the rest of their life! Our team of compassionate podiatrists at San Antonio Podiatry Associates is here to help you set up some of those habits with their feet so they can stay healthy and strong! If your child is complaining of any pain, or you notice any changes to their gait, be sure to schedule an appointment at any of our San Antonio or New Braunfels offices. Need a same day appointment? Call 210-899-1026 today!