The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the last three decades. Currently, 17% of our children are obese. The problem is with obesity leads foot pain. It's a vicious cycle. Children need to exercise, but they don't want to exercise because their feet hurt.
I'm seeing more and more children in my office every day because of foot pain as a result of obesity. Some of the things we see in the skin are ingrown toenails and blisters in the front of their foot, secondary to the shoes fitting improperly.
The other thing that we're seeing in great records is calcaneal apophysitis, also known as Sever's disease. It's an inflammation of the growth plate due to abnormal stress being placed.
Plantar fasciitis, unheard of in children, is now becoming more common, secondary to excessive pressure being placed on the arch. Studies have shown obese children have a higher tendency to develop flat feet as they get older.
So what do you do if you have an obese child and you want them to exercise? Supportive shoe gear is critical. Support the child's arch to decrease the tension being placed on the arch. Over-the-counter inner soles work well. If they're still having pain, we can fabricate them a custom orthotic to also help support the arch.
Stretching and physical therapy is critical in getting the child recovering and exercising more. A healthy diet with low impact exercise is key in the management of an obese child.