During the school year, your children maintain their normal school routine with frequent activities and are constantly on the go. In order to maintain their busy schedules, it is vital that their feet are protected against the aches and pains of non-stop daily activities. From infants and toddlers to high school kids, the need for continual foot relief is constant. Pain in your child’s foot or ankle is never normal, as there is no such thing as "growing pains." Your podiatrist should evaluate any pain that lasts more than a few days, or that is severe enough to limit the child’s walking, as soon as possible.
Infants and Toddlers
Whether your infant or toddler is in school or daycare, their feet need extra protection early on to promote healthy feet later on in their lives. The size and shape of your baby’s feet change dramatically during their first year. Too much pressure or strain can affect the shape of their feet as a baby’s feet are flexible. When choosing shoes for your baby make sure their shoes and socks do not squeeze the toes as this can cause damage to their precious toes.
As your infant continues to grow, it is important not to force your toddler to walk before he or she is ready to. Once your toddler does begin to walk, watch your toddler’s gait – the way in which they walk. Many toddlers may have a pigeon-toed gait, which is normal, while some initially learn to walk landing on their toes instead of their heels. Most children will outgrow both of these problems, but other conditions detected early can be treated more easily.
Proper Shoes for Your Children
Before you head to the store to buy your kids shoes, follow some simple guidelines provided by your podiatrist to prevent or minimize foot problems from poorly fitting or worn out shoes. Your child’s feet can grow up to two sizes in six months, so you need to account for growth when purchasing new shoes. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy shoes that are too big, as oversized shoes cause the foot to slide forward, putting excessive pressure on the toes. A well-fitting shoe has about a finger’s width from the end of the shoe to the tip of the big toe. If your child’s shoes are too tight, they can cause blisters, corns, calluses, or ingrown nails that become can become infected.
Shoes will lose their shock absorption over time, so it is important to inspect new and old shoes for proper cushioning and arch support. If your child’s shoes exhibit wear and tear around the edges of the sole, replace them with new shoes that have adequate support. When buying new shoes, check to see that the toe box flexes easily and the shoe does not bend in the middle of the sole. Worn-out shoes elevate the risk for heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, and even ankle sprains – be sure to replace then as soon as possible.
Remember to check your child’s shoe size often, as they will continually change shoe sizes as they grow. With your podiatrist’s care, the risk of bone problems can be reduced. Contact your podiatrist today if your child is experiencing any pain in their feet due to injury or abnormal growth.