While it might not be something you think about often (or at all), the health of your child’s feet is important. Your child is growing by leaps and bounds and certain habits and other factors can affect how your child’s feet develop or if they experience injuries or other problems down the road. Unfortunately, a lot of children end up wearing shoes that are far too small for their feet, which can lead to pain, structural imbalances and certain foot deformities.
We know that going shoe shopping is certainly not a walk in the park for most parents; however, it’s an important component to making sure your child maintains healthy feet. There are many things to think about when it comes to picking the right shoes, and your podiatrist can also provide suggestions and tips to make the world of shoe shopping easier for you and your little one.
Some factors that you should consider when shopping for the right shoes include:
- Your child’s age
- The shoe’s material
- Your child’s shoe size
- The shoe’s structure
A good rule of thumb is to shop for shoes every 2 months when your child is between the ages of 1 and 2 years old. Once they reach three and four, you’ll want to purchase new shoes approximately every four months. At the point that your child is five or six years old, every six months is a good time to swap out old shoes for new ones.
As you might already know, the bones of a baby or infant’s feet are soft and haven’t fully developed. To protect your child’s feet it’s important that they wear socks and soft shoes. Make sure that as your child’s feet grow that the toes have room to wiggle and move around within the shoes. Bunched-up toes are a major no-no!
Since your little one is growing by leaps and bounds it is important that you are constantly checking their shoe size for changes. Remember that feet swell throughout the day, so shoe shopping should be done at the end of the day when feet are at their largest. If you aren’t sure what size shoe your little one wears, you can ask one of the store’s footwear specialists for help.
Of course, you can’t forget the importance of choosing the right socks, as well. Socks can prevent your little one from blisters, calluses and other foot problems. They can also wick away sweat and prevent fungal infections. When it comes to choosing the right socks for your little one consider the type of fabric, your child’s activity level, the size of your child’s feet and sensitivities they might have to certain fabrics.
When in doubt, you should talk to a foot doctor who can provide you with advice, answer any questions you might have about your child’s developing feet and also provide comprehensive care, when needed.
What is a Bunion?
What Causes Bunions?
How a Podiatrist Can Help
Prevention is Key
Normally, most people will walk with their toes and feet pointing straight ahead. However, sometimes children’s feet turn when they walk, which can be called intoeing or being pigeon-toed. Your child may walk with their feet pointing in, but most cases can be corrected on their own as the child grows up, which most adults don't deal with intoeing.
Your podiatrist is available to properly diagnose your child’s feet and provide proper treatment plans when needed. There are three common causes of intoeing:
- Tibial torsion – the shinbone is the most commonly twisted bone. This twist can be caused by the way the baby lay in the womb while the bones are still soft.
- Femoral anteversion – the thighbone can also be twisted inwards, but is usually corrected over time, slowly.
- Metatarsus adductus – the feet are curved inwards and typically get better without treatment, but for some children who have very curved feet, some bracing may help in the first couple of years of life.
According to your podiatrist, children who have intoeing tend to trip a little more at first, but will be fine later on. Children with intoeing will also be just as good at sports and are no more likely to get arthritis or back problems than anyone else.
Intoeing should not get worse and your child should be able to participate in all types of physical activities. If you think your child’s intoeing is getting worse, visit your podiatrist. It is important to remember:
- Most children do not require treatment and self-correct over time.
- Special shoes and braces are not usually needed and are only recommended in rare cases.
- Orthotics have no role in the correction of intoeing.
Visit your podiatrist for more information on intoeing and the best measures to take to protect your child from further complications.
Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that can partially or completely block blood flow back to the heart and cause damage to the one-way valves in the veins. The blood clot usually forms in a calf or thigh, but can also occur in the veins of the upper extremities.
The clot can also break free and travel through your blood to major organs, such as your lungs, which can be fatal. By visiting your podiatrist you can better understand DVT and how to properly prevent it from occurring.
Lowering Your Risk of DVT
To lower your risk and help prevent deep vein thrombosis, follow these important steps:
- Maintain an active lifestyle and exercise daily.
- Manage your weight by exercising and eating a healthy diet.
- If you smoke, it is important to quit.
- Check your blood pressure regularly, and take steps to lower it if necessary.
- Report any family or personal history of blood-clotting problems to your podiatrist.
- Discuss alternatives to birth control pills or hormone-replacement therapy
- If you are on an airplane for more than 4 hours, either walk or do leg stretches in your seat and also stay well hydrated and avoid alcohol consumption.
Visit your podiatrist for further information on deep vein thrombosis, and for more tips on how to prevent it from developing.
Our feet and ankles are prone to a number of problems at different stages of life. Below is a list of common foot and ankle problems. With each issue, you can find quick advice for finding relief from your ailment, and if you experience any of the following conditions, contact your podiatrist for further diagnosis and treatment options.
A bunion is a painful enlargement at the joint of the big toe. An important part of treatment is to wear shoes that conform to the shape of your foot and do not cause pressure areas. By doing this, you can often alleviate your pain. However, severe cases can be disabling. Visit your podiatrist for further treatment options if the change in shoes does not provide relief.
Heel pain is extremely common and can often begin without injury. You will often feel pain under the heel while standing or walking, with symptoms at their worst when first arising out of bed. Most cases will improve on their own. Heel stretching, medication to reduce swelling of the soft tissues of the foot and orthotics can all be helpful in providing relief from your heel pain. For prolonged and troubling cases, visit your podiatrist for further treatment.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are caused by pressure on the skin of your foot. Treatment involves relieving the pressure on the skin, usually by modifying the shoe. Pads to relieve the bony pressure are helpful, but they must be positioned carefully. A visit to your podiatrist will help in the treatment planning.
Plantar warts occur on the sole of the foot and look like calluses. They result from an infection by a specific virus and are like other warts, but they grow inward. Plantar warts are difficult to treat, but success has been achieved with repeated applications of salicylic acid to soften the overlying callus and expose the virus. Other treatments include injecting the warts with medication, freezing them with liquid nitrogen and, very rarely, surgery. Your podiatrist can create the best treatment plan for your plantar warts.
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