Proper care for your child’s feet is critical, especially since you can potentially risk exposing them to foot diseases or other health complications down the road. In addition to these harmful conditions, foot problems can also cause poor walking postures, as well as other issues walking correctly.
The First Year: Foot Care Tips
- If you observe an abnormality in your child’s feet, be sure to consult their pediatrician immediately. Avoid waiting until they can walk to address any concerns.
- Keep their feet covered loosely, avoiding putting anything that is too tight on their feet, which can limit movement and prevent normal development.
- Provide plenty of opportunities for your baby to exercise his or her feet since such motions, such as kicking, can help prepare your child’s feet for the ability to bear weight.
- Avoid letting your baby lie in one position for long, especially on the stomach, which can strain your child’s legs and feet.
The Walking Years: Foot Care Tips
- Avoid forcing your child to walk. Many parents feel that children should walk by a certain age. However, it is important that you avoid forcing your child to walk, waiting until they are not only emotionally prepared but physically prepared as well.
- Avoid the use of shoes too early. As your child starts to walk, there is no need for shoes, instead of allowing them to wear socks or go barefoot, which helps enhance the development of the foot muscles, as well as foot strength, and accelerates the grasping action of the toes.
- Wear shoes outside. While shoes are not necessary indoors, when your child is walking outside, it is important that you protect their feet with light, flexible, well-fitting shoes.
The Growing Stage: Foot Care Tips
- Provide for their growing feet. As your child’s feet continue developing, it is important that you are providing them with the right size shoes and socks, giving them enough room for their feet to grow. While the majority of foot issues stem primarily from deformities and hereditary factors, injuries and improper footwear can worsen pre-existing conditions, or create new ones.
- Watch for walking patterns. By closely watching your child’s walking pattern, you can better detect any potential issues, such as pigeon toes, knock knees, or other gait-related issues.
- Reduce walking hazards. While it is okay for children to walk barefoot on a smooth surface, they should always walk on avoid hazardous surfaces, such as pebbles, dirty pavement, and public places, which can result in accidents and fungal infections.
If your child is exhibiting any foot-related issues, be sure to consult with your podiatrist immediately. Contact the Foot and Ankle Specialists of Illinois for more information and to schedule your consultation today!