Top Ten Tips For Treating Children’s Feet
Children’s feet grow rapidly during the first year, reaching almost half their adult foot size. APMA foot specialists consider the first year to be the most important in the development of a child’s feet.
Look carefully at your baby’s feet. If you notice something that does not look normal, seek professional care immediately. Problems noticed at birth will not disappear by themselves. Do not wait until the baby begins to walk to take care of the problem.
Cover your baby’s feet loosely. Tight covers restrict movement and can slow normal development.
Be care about applying home remedies to your child’s feet. Products strong enough to kill certain types of fungus can also harm a child’s skin.
To prevent your baby from getting a painful ingrown toenail, trim toenails straight across. If the toenail becomes infected (red and/or swollen) see a podiatrist right away.
When your child first begins to walk, shoes are not necessary for walking indoors. Allowing your baby to walk barefoot or to just wear socks help the feet to grow normally and to develop its musculature and strength, as well as the grasping action of the toes. When walking outside or on rough surfaces, babies’ feet should be protected in lightweight; flexible footwear made of natural materials.
Remember that your child’s lack of complaining does not necessarily mean that all is well. The bones of growing feet are so flexible that they can be twisted and distorted without the child being aware of it. Start the school year off by visiting the podiatrist for a foot check-up.
Have your child’s feet measured every time you purchase new shoes, as children’s feet change size rapidly. Look at the shoe to be sure it has a firm heel counter (stiff material on either side of the heel), adequate cushioning of the insole, and a built-in arch. It should be flexible enough to bend where the foot bends, at the ball of the foot, not in the middle of the shoe. New shoes should be comfortable from the beginning and should not have to be broken in.
According to the podiatrist at the APMA, walking is the best form of exercise. They recommend that children’s walking patterns be carefully observed. Problems, if detected early, often can be corrected.
Walking barefoot is a healthy activity for children under the right conditions. However, walking barefoot on dirty pavements exposes children’s feet to infection through accidental cuts, contusions, sprains and fractures. Another potential problem is plantar warts; a condition caused by a virus which invades the sole of the foot through cuts and breaks in the skin. They require protracted treatment and can keep children form school and other activies.
As your child’s foot continues to develop, it may be necessary to change shoe and sock sizes every few months to allow room for the feet to grow. Although foot problems result mainly form injury, deformity, illness or hereditary factors, improper footwear can aggravate preexisting conditions. Shoes or other footwear should never be handed down from one child to another.