As parents we worry about everything. Our children’s foot health can occasionally be cause for worry also. A baby’s feet will carry them throughout life, so it’s important to begin good foot care at a young age. Neglecting your child’s foot health invites problems in other parts of the body. Treating a foot condition very early in life is the best way to ensure the feet and legs develop correctly and do not affect athletic performance or cause pain or hip/knee issues later in life. Intoeing, out-toeing, and gait abnormalities can be corrected when they are detected early and can be as simple as massage and stretches, inserts and change of shoe gear. A baby’s feet are formed from soft, pliable cartilage which makes them more susceptible to deformities- but this also makes them more responsive to change.
For Newborns alternate your baby’s position several times a day. Lying too long in one position may place unnecessary strain or pressure on the feet and legs. Alternating positions helps aid in the development of proprioception (knowing wear your limbs/body parts are in space). You can encourage exercise by allowing babies to lye uncovered so babies can kick and move their feet freely and you can do the bicycle exercise with them. Examine your baby’s feet regularly. If you detect anything unusual, contact your child’s podiatrist right away.
A note on SWADDELING: a snug swaddle can sooth a baby and calm a colicky baby, but the swaddle must be applied correctly. Ensure that the baby’s hips have free range of motion (the legs should be able to bend especially at the hips)
A child's feet grow rapidly during the first year, reaching almost half of their adult foot size. As your baby continues to grow and develop, so will the feet. It may be necessary to change shoe and sock size every few months, as tight-fitting footwear can aggravate pre-existing conditions. After your child takes their first steps, you should also carefully observe walking patterns. We want every step our children make toward adulthood to be pain-free and healthy!
Sometimes children wont just grow out of some of the foot conditions—its best to see a Podiatrist who can make that determination through physical exam and possibly xrays. Whether you have questions about your child’s foot health or suspect a problem with the development of your child’s feet, please contact our office.
Proper care at a young age is essential for healthy development. Since many adult foot ailments develop in childhood, periodic visits to your child’s podiatrist and basic foot care can help minimize these problems later in life.