Taking Care of Children’s Feet

Kids know how to make you laugh and how to push your buttons. They make you immensely proud and terribly worried, because you want the absolute best for their lives, including their health. Any parent understands these emotions. Your children are a vital part of your life, and that means you need to be paying attention to their feet. Children’s feet are important as they grow and develop. The lower limbs are the foundation of the whole body. Growing good, strong, healthy feet in childhood is a valuable part of preventing pain later in life.

Growing Limbs

Babies’ feet are flexible and soft, especially when your child is first born. Over many months of kicking, wiggling, and playing, the tissues strengthen enough to start holding the baby up. Never try to force your little one to walk before he or she is ready—the feet need to develop correctly first. During those first few years of walking, the feet grow progressively stronger and more stable. The arch typically forms during this time. This is also when you’ll notice any gait abnormalities, if they exist.

Until the feet stop growing during adolescence, the lower limbs develop fairly rapidly along with the rest of the body. This necessitates plenty of shoe changes—often several pairs in a year—to accommodate the increasing foot size. Too-small shoes risk cramping your child’s feet and causing a variety of painful issues. There are several injuries and conditions that older children are more prone to, especially if your child is active. Evaluating his or her feet regularly, and making sure shoes provide sufficient support, can help them avoid painful overuse injuries.

The doctors at Country Foot Care are experts in examining your children’s feet.  By evaluating how they walk, early detection of problems that may arise later in life can often be seen.

Common Problems

The most common foot problem seen with children are warts.  It is rare to find calluses on pre-pubescent children’s feet; finding some type of skin growth is almost always a plantar’s wart, which are viral and contagious.  Our doctors believe that early detection & treatment of warts is a key way to prevent them from spreading.

As your child begins to walk, their feet naturally point outward to help with balance.  You have to check your children’s feet to maintain their heath. Staying familiar with your little one’s limbs and their development can help you avoid painful injuries and deformities. Some problems are present from birth and need to be addressed right away. Other foot problems appear from toddler to age 6 when all of the foot bones are in place.

You’ll need to watch for gait abnormalities like in-toeing, out-toeing, and toe walking. These are all fairly common in babies and may resolve on their own as your child ages and his or her walking improves. However, these are sometimes symptoms of shortened Achilles tendons or neuromuscular disorders. You’ll need to have your child’s gait monitored by the doctors of Country Foot Care to make sure his or her feet develop correctly.

As your little one gets older and becomes more active, he or she becomes more prone to sever’s disease. This painful inflammation of the growth plate in the heel can cause your child to limp and keep him or her from fully participating in sports. Treatment for sever’s disease includes custom fabricated orthotics (to cushion the heel and support the ankle), stretching exercises and physical therapy. 

Flat feet can also make it difficult for your child to stay active, since it strains so many different parts of the feet. Children’s feet are much more flexible than adult feet; ligament laxity contributes to flat feet and often warrants rigid custom orthotics to control children’s flat feet.

Conditions like ingrown toenails can appear in children of any age. Shoes are a key factor in this painful issue. Footwear that is too small puts pressure on the toenails and may cause them to curl inward. The nail will need to be cut away to eliminate the pain in the digit. Fortunately, this process is quick and easy, offering fast relief to your child.  If the ingrown toenails recur, permanent correction of the ingrown toenail would be indicated.

Healthy children’s feet are necessary for a strong foundation as your little one grows. Don’t take tickling your baby’s toes or buying them new shoes for granted. Don’t ignore complaints of pain; catching potential problems early can make a significant difference in how quick and successful treatment will be. Contact Country Foot Care, in any of our locations in Williston Park, Mineola or Patchogue to see how we can help your whole family. Appointments can be made online using the MAKE AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of this page or by calling any of our locations during regular office hours.