October 19th is World Pediatric Bone and Joint Day! World PB&J Day, while sounding like a day for celebrating a delicious childhood snack, is an important time for raising awareness for bone and joint health for children and teens. Most people think about bone and joint issues for older adults, but there are many ways that children can experience issues as well. The best way to protect your children from ongoing or future issues is to watch for signs to prevent problems and treat early.
At Fords Foot and Ankle Care, we want the best for you and your family. Here are some tips for healthy bones and joints for your children:
- Don’t sit around all day – Exercise to protect and strengthen your joints. Weight bearing exercises can help to strengthen bones. Don’t forget to stretch and warm up before exercising.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Extra weight can cause strains on the joints, especially knee joints.
- Wear supportive shoes – if your teenager likes to wear high heels, make sure she rotates them with more supportive shoes to prevent joint pain in the feet and ankles.
- Eat foods that have omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids – Many nuts, fatty fish, and vegetables have omega fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory effects and help bone formation.
- Eat foods that are calcium rich – Calcium-fortified cereal, dark leafy greens, and yogurt are great places to start.
- Get some sunshine – Make sure that children get adequate vitamin D in order to help bones grow and retain calcium.
- Don’t ignore a limp – Whether or not your child feels pain, a limp can indicate an issue, especially because their bones and joints are still developing.
- Be careful during growth spurts – When adolescents are going through growth spurts, there is more likelihood for injury that affects the tendons and bones than if they had fully formed bones as an adult.
- Be careful of stress fractures – Growing adolescents also have risk of stress fractures as their bodies change and grow.
- Knee pain could indicate developmental issues – It doesn’t always have to be a result of knee injury.
- Swollen, red, inflamed joints should be assessed by a physician immediately. Ankle and Foot joints in particular can be looked at by our podiatrist.
- Be aware of Juvenile Arthritis – Muscle pain, joint stiffness, growing pains, and fatigue are all signs that your child may have arthritis.
If you have questions about any of these issues, make an appointment with us by email or phone (732) 738-4441 at our Fords, NJ office. Our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Carl Ingrassia, can help you understand your children’s issues regarding bones and joints, particularly in the feet and ankles.