While most bunions occur in adults, we have also seen bunions in children. Pediatric bunions can be a problem, because they can interfere with a child’s ability to play sports, walk or take part in activities. Most bunions in children develop because of structural problems with the bones and cartilage of the big toe joint; this is usually due to heredity. Here are a few things to be aware of when it comes to bunions in children:
- When treating bunions in children, non-surgical options are generally tried first. If begun early, while the child’s bones are still developing and pliable enough to respond, it may be possible to prevent the need for surgery in the future. Non-surgical treatments may include proper shoe fitting, orthotics and padding. Toe spacers and night-time bunion splints may also be used.
- If non-surgical methods don’t achieve the desired results, then surgery may be indicated. It’s best, if possible, to wait until the child reaches their teens and attains skeletal maturity, but this isn’t mandatory. If a bunion is causing pain and discomfort to a child, and limiting their activity and quality of life, then surgery may be the best solution, even at a younger age.
- You should be aware that bunion surgery on a child is a highly specialized procedure. A child’s bones are smaller than an adult’s, and still growing — so surgeons must be careful not to damage the growth plates. Pediatric bunion surgery should be performed by a podiatrist who has a specialty in pediatric foot and ankle surgery. (This is a specialty we offer at The Foot & Ankle Center.)
You may wish to check out our bunion page for more information.
If you think your child is developing a bunion, it’s important to see a podiatrist soon. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have, or make an online appointment: