As parents, we always want the best for our children. This also includes their foot health. Children who have strong and healthy feet during their childhood tend to avoid many types of lower extremity problems later in life. Therefore, it’s essential to give attention to our children’s feet regularly. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about children’s feet.
Infants undergo significant changes during their first year, including the size and shape of their feet. A baby’s feet are flexible, and any pressure or strain can significantly affect the shape of their feet. Hence, it’s vital to allow babies to kick and stretch their feet freely. Additionally, check the shoes and socks regularly and ensure they do not squeeze the toes.
Once toddlers begin to walk, many parents tend to worry and try to make their children walk before they are ready. Do not force your toddler to walk before they are ready. As toddlers learn to walk, many of them have a pigeon-toe gait that’s quite normal. Some initially learn to walk landing on their toes instead of their heels, but most of these problems tend to get resolved with time. However, suppose you notice any unusual conditions or gait patterns that tend to persist. In that case, it’s essential to see a podiatrist.
There are specific cases where toddlers may need extra foot care, such as flat feet. In such cases, special shoes or orthotics may be prescribed. If your toddler has mild in-toeing or out-toeing, they may need to sit in a different position while playing or watching TV. If the problem persists, corrective shoes, splints, or night braces may be prescribed. It’s always best to consult a foot specialist if you notice any unusual patterns.
While the bone structure of children’s feet is well-formed by the time they reach 7 or 8 years of age, any damage to the growth plate (the area where bone growth begins) can cause the bone to grow irregularly. However, with timely care and guidance from a doctor, the risk of future bone problems can be reduced.
As children’s feet grow quickly, it is essential to check their shoe size often. Make sure there is enough space between the toes and the end of the shoe, and the shoes are roomy enough to allow the toes to move freely. If you’re unsure about the correct shoe size, visit a podiatrist or a shoe specialist to determine the appropriate size. It’s also vital to avoid using hand-me-down shoes as they tend to mold to the previous wearer’s foot shape and cause discomfort or foot problems.
In conclusion, taking care of your child’s foot health is critical to their overall well-being. As mentioned earlier in the article, if you notice any unusual patterns with your child’s feet, it’s best to visit a podiatrist. Gilbert Huang, DPM, is a podiatrist who specializes in pediatric foot conditions. He can guide you through your child’s foot care journey and recommend the best treatment options. So, ensure you provide your children with the best possible foot care from infancy to adulthood.