Here is a foot fact… Children’s feet reach almost half their adult foot size during their first year. Parents must pay close attention to their child’s feet to ensure proper growth during every stage of development. Suffolk Foot and Ankle has provided expert care, diagnosis and treatment of ankle and foot disorders for children since 1982.
The human foot is one of the most complicated parts of the body with 26 bones, ligaments, muscles, blood vessels and nerves. Young children’s feet are soft and pliable. Abnormal pressure can easily cause deformities. The feet carry the entire weight of the body through a lifetime so they need to be well taken care of.
These tips will help parents ensure normal development of their children’s feet:
– Avoid covering babies feet too tight, as restricted movement can delay normal development.
– Exercise baby feet by laying uncovered enabling the baby to kick and perform other related motions that prepare the feet for weight-bearing.
– Child athletes need to wear a shoe designed for the exact sport they are participating in. This not only improves your child’s performance on the court or field, but also helps keep him/her free from serious foot and ankle injuries.
– Observe how your child walks. Do the toes turn in or out? In-toeing and out-toeing are when the feet turn inwards (“pigeon-toed”) or outwards. Toe-Walking is when a child walks on their toes without putting much weight on their heels. Do you see bowlegs or knock-knees; limp or experience other gait abnormalities? Early detection is the key to correcting problems.
– Have your child’s feet measured often. Sneakers and shoes should be supportive and cushiony. As a child’s feet are constantly growing, it is important to allow at least one finger’s width from the end of the longest toe when buying shoes. Foot problems mainly result from injury, deformity, illness or hereditary factors, improper footwear can aggravate pre-existing conditions. Hand-me-downs are great, but not for footwear. Socks are important too. Socks made of a natural/synthetic blend “wick” away moisture best. Avoid large seams that can cause blisters or irritation.
– Walking barefoot can increase a child’s risk of infection, sprains or fractures. Another potential problem are plantar warts, a condition caused by a virus which invades the sole of the foot through cuts and breaks in the skin.
– Sunscreen should be applied from head to toe.
Children’s feet are often more unstable because of muscle problems that make walking difficult or uncomfortable. Kids might not always complain! The flexible bones of growing feet can be twisted and distorted without the child being aware of it. A thorough examination in our office can detect an underlying defect or condition.
Healthy feet are vital for mobility and need to last a lifetime! Overall health is maintained by foot health. Taking care of their feet when they’re young will help to maintain good foot health when they are old. Whenever you have questions about your child’s foot health, contact Suffolk Foot and Ankle.