Feet are our foundation and it is very important to take care of your children’s feet as they grow and develop. In a guide written by The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, “Any postural foot abnormality could have an effect further up the body, altering posture and walking style. This is similar to the way that poor foundations can cause general structural problems and instability to a house.”
Here are some tips for taking care of your children’s feet:
- Measure your child’s feet frequently and evaluate whether their shoes and socks are the correct size for their growing bodies. Your child should be able to spread their toes and wiggle them easily once inside new shoes.
- Choose shoes that are vented so that the feet can breathe. If shoes become wet or sweaty, have your child wear a different pair until they dry out.
- Check the bottom of your child’s shoes for unusual wear patterns. The soles of the shoes should wear evenly. If you find that the shoes wear more around the edges, it means your child has an abnormal gait which could result in problems down the road.
- Make sure toe nails are cut properly and often. The nail should be cut straight across and not down around the sides of the nail. Also make sure the area under the nail beds are clean and clear of infection.
- Certain youth activities attract foot injuries and pains. Play close attention to your child’s feet if they are dancers, soccer players, rock climbers, or if they engage in other activities where the feet and ankles are stressed on a regular basis. If pain begins, cease activities until you have spoken with a professional.
- Pay attention to warning signs! If your child reports having smelly feet, pain in the feet or ankles, sores on the heels or toes from rubbing, or blisters or sores, call a podiatrist and get a professional opinion. Most issues with children can be resolved easily if addressed quickly.
Additional warning signs:
“Skin– look for areas of redness and rashes particularly between the toes, in the arches and below the ankle bones indicating athlete’s foot, particularly if they are itchy. Look for red marks and/or blisters at the back of the heel and on the tops of the small joints of the toes indicating ill-fitting shoes. Raised and painful hard masses on the soles of the feet may indicate a verruca.
Nails– any inflammation around the nails should be taken seriously as it may indicate infection. Any discoloration of the toenails should be checked by your podiatrist.
Deformities– Toes should always be straight in line with the foot and not drawn back or curled. The fifth toe may tuck under the fourth slightly and the fourth under the third toe but the big toe should also be straight.
Posture– If the feet appear to be excessively turned in or out or the arch looks very flat, particularly if the child complains of pain, the advice of your registered podiatrist should be sought.”
There are two main issues to look out for when dealing with children’s feet: genetic conditions and conditions that are aggravated by lifestyle. Our podiatrist works with your child to help correct both of these. In cases where foot problems are genetic (like flat foot) our doctor can help your child find proper footwear and support and we can teach exercises to strengthen the muscles in the feet. For lifestyle aggravated problems (like blisters, heel pain, or nail infections) we can help your child change things like their hygiene, walking patterns, and stretching routine so the problem heals up on its own.
If your child is having any trouble with their feet do not hesitate to contact our office! Our podiatrist has terrific bedside manner and will help your child heal with the most conservative treatment methods available. Call today for more information!
-Written by Hope Ealey