Caring for Children’s Feet
Jumping rope, playing tag, riding bikes—kids are always on the go! Even youth sports start at an early age, which is why it’s important to keep kids’ feet healthy so they can enjoy doing the things they love. At Far West Podiatric Medical Group, we provide expert care for your children’s feet, from the time they are born and all through the years as they grow. We are here to ensure your kids stay active, happy, and healthy, whether it’s their very first steps or a teenage game-winning touchdown!
Proper Care of Little Piggies
Babies feet are soft and pliable which makes them vulnerable to deformities, but also easily manipulated to address problems effectively and efficiently. That’s why it’s important to catch any problems as early as possible in order to give your child the best chance at correction and recovery so he or she can run and play like all children do. Some early children’s foot problems to watch for include:
- Clubfoot – babies are born with this condition, so you will notice signs right away, including a foot or feet twisted inward, and sometimes upward, abnormally resembling a club. Gentle manipulation, braces and casting can be used to gradually return and hold the foot in proper position. The process takes time, but your child’s foot will look and function just like any other’s.
- Gait abnormalities – when your baby starts to walk you may notice such issues as intoeing (often referred to as pigeon toes), or out-toeing. These conditions can be harmless and even outgrown, but it’s important to have your little one’s feet examined nonetheless. Treatments like orthotic shoe inserts or stretches can help to avoid any problems these conditions could cause in the future, such as difficulty walking and running, and ankle issues.
A tip for tiny toes: Keep baby feet unrestricted – infants do not need shoes until they start to walk!
Getting the Care You Need for Growing Feet
Kids grow quickly, and it’s essential to keep up with foot care for their ever-changing needs! As your child grows, here are some conditions to keep an eye out for so you can get help if need be:
- Deformities – bunions and hammertoes don’t just occur with adults—kids can get them too! Whether it’s in their genes or their shoes get too tight and aggravate the situation, it’s vital that the problem is treated as soon as possible since these are progressive conditions that can eventually cause pain and other issues. If you notice a bony nodule at the base of your child’s big toe, or an abnormal curling of the toes, contact us for prompt attention.
- Flat feet – all babies are born with flat feet, then develop arches as they grow, however, sometimes the arch may not ever appear. Occasionally, this can cause your child discomfort and possibly result in difficulty with activities, so it is a good idea to have your child’s feet assessed and ask about treatment options like orthotics that offer additional arch support.
- Ingrown toenails – another casualty of growing quickly, ingrown toenails can occur when toes are squished in shoes that are too tight. Make sure footwear fits by replacing shoes when they’ve been outgrown (we know, this can be quite often!) Also, follow proper grooming by clipping toenails straight across and even with the tips of toes.
- Sever’s disease — this is not actually a disease but rather a condition that occurs when a portion of the heel bone grows irregularly, causing heel pain. Your child will likely outgrow this, but may need treatment to ease discomfort.
- Warts – a common skin condition with kids of all ages, warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and, while persistent and unattractive, they are usually harmless. (They are, however, contagious!) A plantar wart on the bottom of your foot, however, can cause pain and may need to be surgically removed if conservative options (topical and oral medications) are unsuccessful. Prevention includes not walking barefoot in public places like pool sides and locker rooms, and not sharing footwear.
A tip for growing feet: Kids aren’t always going to let you know if their feet hurt. Watch for signs like limping, tripping, decreased participation in activities, and unevenly worn soles on their shoes.
Whether you have a baby, or your baby’s all grown-up, we are happy to answer any questions you have about children’s foot care and keeping feet healthy for a lifetime! Schedule an appointment with Far West Podiatric Medical Group by contacting our office in Hawthorne, CA at (310) 675-0900.