Why Your Child's Foot Care is Important
strong, healthy feet allows your child to walk, run, and play. If
your childs feet form correctly, certain types of back and
leg pain can be avoided later in life. Exams of the feet and ankles
ensure that your childs bones are growing correctly. Your
doctor can also make sure that your child is walking right. This
helps prevent some future foot problems. And if a problem does
arise, it can be handled early when it is easiest to treat.
Your Baby's Feet
Both the size and shape of your childs feet change quickly
during the first year of life. Because a babys feet are flexible,
too much pressure or strain can affect the shape of the foot. To
help ensure normal growth, allow your baby to kick and stretch his
or her feet. Also, make sure shoes and socks dont squeeze
Possible Foot Care
Talk with the doctor if you are concerned about your babys
feet. Many infants have feet that appear to turn in. This may worry
you, but it is rarely a problem. The shape of the foot changes as
your child grows.
Your toddler will walk when he or she is ready. Try not to force
the issue. Instead, watch your childs gait once he or she
does begin to walk. Does the toe touch down instead of the heel?
Does your child always sit while others play actively? If so, talk
with the doctor. If your toddlers feet are fat, flat, and
floppydont worry. This is usually normal. Also, many
toddlers toe-in, but most outgrow the problem.
When Foot Care
During a foot exam, the doctor will watch your toddler walk. If
a gait problem exists, the doctor works to identify its cause.
- To help with flat feet, special shoes or
orthoses (custom-made shoe inserts) may be prescribed.
- To correct mild toeing-in, your toddler may
need to sit in a different position while playing or watching
- If your childs feet turn in or out
a lot, corrective shoes, splints, or night braces may be prescribed.
Wearing these devices can help the foot as it grows.
The foots bone structure is pretty well formed by the time
your child reaches age 7 or 8. But if a growth plate (the area where
bone growth begins) is injured, the damaged plate may cause the
bone to grow oddly With a doctors care, however, the risk
of future bone problems is reduced.
When to Call the
If an injury is mild, your child probably will not remember it for
very long. But if your child keeps complaining of pain, have the
injury checked by a doctor. Also, call the doctor anytime an injury
causes serious swelling, localized tenderness, limping, or ongoing
Treating an Injury
If a bone or growth plate is damaged, your child may need to use
crutches to take weight off the injury as it heals. In the case
of fracture, a cast, splint, or brace may be needed to hold the
bone in place during healing.
If the Shoe Fits
If your childs feet grow correctly and stay healthy, foot
problems are less likely later in life. For healthier young feet,
be sure your childs shoes fit. Outline your childs foot
when he or she is standing. Place the shoe over the tracing to see
if the shoe is big enough to hold the foot comfortably.
For Fit Feet
Pay attention to your childs feet and the shoes you put them
in. Remember the tips below.
- Check your childs shoe size often.
Make sure there is space between the toes and the end of the shoe~
Wearing shoes that are too small cramps the foot. This may affect
- Dont let your child wear hand-me-down
shoes. Because most shoes moh to the foot, wearing hand-me-downs
can affect the shape of your childs feet.
Consultant: Brad L. Naylor, DPM, MS With contributions
by: G. Howard bathon, MD, ORS & Ronald L. Valmassy, DPM
This information is not intended as a substitute
for professional health care.
©1996, 1998 The StayWell Company