Children’s Foot Care
Whether it’s a precious baby’s first steps or a quick maneuvering teenager’s winning soccer goal, healthy feet and sure-footedness make milestones in a child’s life possible. Starting at birth, paying close attention to your little one’s feet from proper grooming to gait will ensure a solid foundation as your youngster grows. After all, their feet are meant to last a lifetime!
The human foot – one of the most complicated parts of the body – has 26 bones, including an intricate system of ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Because the feet of young children are soft and pliable, abnormal body forces can cause deformities.
A child’s feet grow rapidly during the first year. For this reason, podiatric physicians, also known as podiatrists, consider this period to be the most critical stage of the foot’s development.
Here are some suggestions to help ensure normal development:
- Look carefully at you baby’s feet. If you notice something that does not look normal to you, contact a podiatrist. Many deformities will not correct themselves if left untreated.
- Keep your baby’s feet unrestricted. No shoes or booties are necessary for infants. These can restrict movement and can inhibit toes and feet from normal development.
- Provide an opportunity for exercising the feet. Lying uncovered enables the baby to kick and perform other related motions which prepare the feet for weight bearing.
- Change the baby’s position several times a day. Lying too long in one spot can put excessive strain on the feet and legs.
Sports play a significant role in millions of American children’s lives, whether on a team or played as individuals. Parents should be mindful of sports that require a substantial amount of running and turning, or involve contact. These can easily translate into injuries. Protective taping of the ankles is often necessary to prevent strains or fractures. Parents should consider discussing these matters with their family podiatric physician if they have children participating in active sports. Sports-related injuries are on the rise as more children participate actively in sports.
Here are some tips to help your child athlete:
- Make sure to buy sport-specific shoes. This will not only help improve your child’s performance, but also helps keep them free from serious foot and ankle injuries.
- Don’t forget the socks! Without the right socks even the best athletic shoe won’t score points on or off the field. The right athletic sock should be made of a natural/synthetic fiber blend, as this helps wick away moisture best. The socks should also not contain any large seams which could cause blisters or irritation.