Children are naturally active beings. Their young bodies are full of energy to jump, hop, skip and run around all day long. If your child is having trouble keeping up with the other kids, or is regularly falling over for no apparent reason, they might be having foot problems.
Problems with your child’s feet can impact them in their daily life. Foot conditions can be associated with knee, hip and back pain and may impact a child’s motor skill development and posture. Bones and joints in children are constantly growing and aren’t fully developed until adulthood. Incorrect movement patterns and untreated foot conditions can impact the development of young, supple bones and joints. Here are 10 tips for healthy feet in kids:
- Babies’ feet develop and grow rapidly. Allowing babies to remain barefoot while crawling enables full contact between their skin and the ground, which assists the development of balance and proprioception, or the understanding of where their bodies are. Of course, make sure there are no hazards around that could injure bare feet.
- When your child starts to walk, it’s a good idea to get professionally fitted shoes to ensure a good fit and to protect their feet from the environment.
- Try to get shoes that fit both the length and width of your child’s feet, and that are made of breathable canvas or leather.
- Sock sizes often change as frequently as shoe sizes. Make sure socks aren’t too tight and that they don’t bunch up inside shoes, as they can then rub and may cause blisters.
- Little feet become big feet quickly, and your child can wind up wearing tight-fitting shoes before you’ve had a chance to even think about buying new ones! Measure your child’s feet regularly to be sure they are wearing shoes that fit properly. Shoes that are too tight may cause pain and discomfort.
- The way your child’s shoes show wear and tear can give you a good indication of incorrect walking patterns or postural problems. Excessive wear and tear, for example, from the outside edge to the inside of the shoe or around the heel is indicative of problems that should be checked out.
- Wash little feet daily in soap and water and dry thoroughly. Little feet often get sweaty, and little cotton threads or even long hair from mum can wrap around little toes inside socks.
- Keep toenails trimmed and take care not to cut nails too close to the skin as this can lead to ingrown toenails that can become painful or infected.
- Children rarely complain about painful or injured feet, so when they do it is a good indicator to get them checked out.
Information sourced from The Australian Podiatry Association.