Children’s Foot Care—Putting Emphasis on Caring
You think about a lot of things as your babies grow up into childhood and beyond, but how often do you notice their feet? Many podiatrists believe that the first year of life is crucial for proper foot development, so it is wise to pay attention to them even when your child is tiny. Children’s foot care involves watching, caring, and calling for help when something doesn’t seem right.
Baby Feet—Pudgy and Sweet
They’re so cute you just want to kiss them, but you need to do more than that to make sure your baby’s feet grow properly.
- Don’t cramp the feet in anything tight, including a sleeper that has become too short. The feet need to move freely to develop properly.
- Let your baby lie on his or her back and without any covering sometimes. Those little legs need to kick and bend to strengthen the muscles later used for walking.
- Change baby’s position several times a day, because lying too long in one position (on the tummy, for example) can put awkward pressure the legs and feet.
- Check the feet carefully and often, watching for any signs of abnormality, and call in the experts if you notice something that doesn’t seem right.
When Kids Toddle and Waddle
Learning to walk is a hard business, and you should let your little one do it at his or her own pace without comparison to others. Normal range is anywhere from 10 to 18 months. You should also let them do it barefoot indoors, or with just warm socks. Don’t cramp those developing muscles in hard soled shoes that don’t let their toes curl and grasp the surface as they should.
If they are outside, you will want to protect their feet with some of the cute, flexible styles made from soft leather or other flexible materials. Your toddler may outgrow shoes and socks every couple of months at first, so keep checking that they are not too tight. Resist the impulse to let them wear big sister or brother’s shoes as well, because the wear patterns may contribute to improper foot development.
Foot Care for Your Wild Child
Once they are off and running, it seems your children never slow down again! If they do, something could be wrong. A child who suddenly doesn’t want to play or run outside may just be hooked on the latest video game, but could also be having problems with his or her feet. Common kids’ foot conditions include in-toeing, out-toeing, pediatric flatfoot (where the arch doesn’t develop), and Sever’s disease (heel pain from irritation in the growth plate).
Other common problems can be ingrown toenails from too-tight shoes or a structural imbalance, and plantar warts on the sole of the foot that make it painful to walk. Besides trimming their nails properly (straight across and not too short) and practicing good foot care habits (wearing protection in public places, cleaning feet regularly), check his or her feet carefully and call us if you see anything that could indicate a problem.
Support for Their Sport
If your child participates in sports, it can teach them many useful lessons for life, but it can also increase their risk for foot and ankle problems. You want your child to have fun with sports and form those friendships and skills that are so important for their wellbeing, but do it wisely. You may be able to head off potential injuries by talking with us about protective measures like proper shoes for their activity and how to fit them, taping techniques to prevent sprains and fractures, and conditioning muscles and ligaments with stretching and exercise.
Children’s Foot Care in South Plainfield/Edison, Warren and Hillsborough, NJ
At any time during your child’s development, share your concerns about their foot health with Dr. Jyotsna Thapar at Ankle and Foot Specialist of New Jersey. Our office believes in offering superior foot care within a caring environment that makes your child feel safe and comfortable. You can reach us by phone at 908-222-8980, or schedule an appointment using our contact page on the website. We look forward to tending your child’s feet throughout their growing years.