Walking is the major achievement of kids this age and over the course of the year they’ll get much better at it.
As kids’ mobility improves, so does their ability to investigate where they couldn’t before. Once again, take a look around your home from a kid’s vantage point and update childproofing measures to keep pace with your child’s advancing skills.
How Is My Baby Moving?
Though some babies take their first steps before their first birthdays, most children learn to walk well in the months after they turn 1.
Kids who are learning to walk are called “toddlers” because that’s exactly what they do — they toddle, keeping their legs wide apart and seeming to hesitate between each step, jerking from side to side as they move one foot forward, then the next.
About 6 months after taking the first steps, toddlers develop a more mature gait, holding their hands at their sides (rather than out in front for balance) and moving with their feet closer together. They also tend to move their feet in a way that looks more like walking — moving from the heel to the toe.
During these months of practice, most toddlers take a few spills, but this is part of learning to walk. You can’t protect your youngster from every fall, but you can reduce the risk of injury by keeping exploration in areas with soft carpeted surfaces and away from sharp corners of furniture.
To get back up from a fall, toddlers often place their hands out in front, lift up their bottom, and then pull their feet under. It may not look very graceful, but it works.
After walking for a couple of months, your child will begin to feel more confident about walking and take on new challenges — such as picking up and carrying objects, moving while pulling a toy behind, and climbing stairs.
By the middle of the second year, your child may learn to run, start to kick a ball, and even attempt to throw a ball overhand. By 2 years, your child may jump in place.
As kids develop the ability to move, they’re also learning. You’ll notice that your child seems extremely interested in finding out how things work, so offer safe opportunities to do this.
Helping Your Child’s Development
Give your child lots of things to do and see in this new upright position. Take walks around your yard or through the neighborhood together or hold hands and climb up and down the stairs together. You can even make an obstacle course of pillows or boxes and encourage your child to walk, climb, and crawl through it. Buy a few balls for kicking and throwing.
Experts recommend that toddlers should:
accumulate at least 30 minutes daily of structured physical activity like playing on the playground, going for a walk, or being in a parent-and-child tumbling class
also have at least 1 hour of unstructured free play each day when they can explore and play with toys
not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except while they’re sleeping
have indoor and outdoor areas that meet or exceed recommended safety standards for all of their activities
As their physical skills develop, toddlers also learn to use their hands more. Toys and objects that can encourage this include:
paper and crayons
simple stacking toys that kids can build up and knock down
When to Call The Podiatrist
Normal child development follows a certain pattern, and the skills that babies develop early are building blocks for later skills. But the time it takes for kids to develop them can vary widely.
See The Podiatrist if you child is having problems:
walk by 18 months
walk in a more mature pattern after several months of practice
walk any way but on the toes
climb stairs while holding on
Whether your baby rises from a crawl with a shaky first step or a full-on sprint across the living room, chances are you’ll be on the edge of your seat. But remember — a child’s first steps usually aren’t picture perfect.
Learning to walk takes time and practice, and it’s common for kids to start walking with their toes and feet turned at an angle. When feet turn inward — a tendency referred to as walking “pigeon-toed” — in-toeing. When feet point outward, it’s called out-toeing.
It can be upsetting to see your child develop an abnormal gait, but for most toddlers with in-toeing or out-toeing, it’s usually nothing to worry about. The conditions do not cause pain and usually improve as kids grow older.
Almost all healthy kids who toe-in or -out as toddlers learn to run, jump, and play sports as they grow up, just the same as kids without gait problems.
In-toeing and Out-toeing
Most toddlers toe-in or -out because of a slight rotation, or twist, of the upper or lower leg bones.
Tibial torsion, the most common cause of in-toeing, occurs when the lower leg bone (tibia) tilts inward. If the tibia tilts outward, a child will toe-out. When the thighbone, or femur, is tilted, the tibia will also turn and give the appearance of in-toeing or out-toeing. The medical term for this is femoral anteversion. In-toeing can also be caused by metatarsus adductus, a curvature of the foot that causes toes to point inward.
The reason some kids develop gait abnormalities and others don’t is unclear, but many experts think that a family history of in-toeing or out-toeing plays a role. So, if you toed-in or -out as a child, there’s a chance that your child could develop the same tendency. Additionally, a cramping of the fetus in the womb during pregnancy could also have led to in-toeing or out-toeing.
As a fetus grows, some of the bones have to rotate slightly to fit into the small space of the womb. In many cases, these bones are still rotated to some degree for the first few years of life. Many times this is most noticeable when a child learns to walk, because if the tibia or femur is tilted at an angle, the feet are, too.
Does Walking Improve?
As most kids get older, their bones very gradually rotate to a normal angle. Walking, like other skills, improves with experience, so kids will become better able to control their muscles and foot position.
In-toeing and out-toeing gets better over time, but the change occurs very gradually. And, it’s hard to notice. Parents can record their child walking, and then wait about a year to take another video. This usually makes it easy to see if the gait abnormality has improved over time. In most cases, it has. If not, parents should speak with their child’s doctor to discuss whether treatment is necessary.
If Walking Does Not Improve
Speak with The Podiatrist if you’re concerned about the way your child walks. For a small number of kids, gait abnormalities can be associated with other problems. For example, out-toeing could signal a neuromuscular condition in rare cases.
Have your child evaluated by The Podiatrist if you notice:
in-toeing or out-toeing that doesn’t improve by age 3
limping or complaints of pain
one foot that turns out more than the other
developmental delays, such as not learning to talk as expected
gait abnormalities that worsen instead of improve
If you are at all concerned, contact The Podiatrist
If you suffer from chronic cold feet, then it’s important to know how to avoid foot pain during winter weather or when feet get wet and are exposed to the elements. There are many medical reasons for having cold feet and a variety of methods to choose from to keep your feet warm and comfortable. Sometimes feet can feel as if they are frozen, presenting with symptoms similar to frost bite. This can occur from an action as simple as sitting in front of an air conditioning vent in the middle of summer. Resulting foot pain can become incapacitating for some, and threaten a life long debility. Following are some suggestions for keeping your feet warm, healthy and pain free.
Check for medical reasons for foot pain
Visit your health care practitioner
If you suffer from continual bouts of icy cold feet, find out if the cause is related to a medical condition.
Ask the doctor if medicines you might be taking for unrelated illnesses might have side effects including reduced blood flow to limbs. Certain beta blockers for high blood pressure cause this symptom as do many other medications. Ask to try a different medication or natural remedy to avoid side effects.
Keep feet covered
Wear socks and closed shoes! Although it seems obvious, walking around barefoot or in open toed shoes and sandals can aggravate existing symptoms and cause unnecessary discomfort. Even in summer, if you spend a great deal of time in places that are heavily cooled with air conditioning, wearing light weight socks and closed shoes can help avoid foot pain and slow the progression of any medical conditions.
Keep your feet dry
Damp or wet feet are much more prone to becoming cold. If feet become wet, remove shoes and socks, and replace with dry socks and another pair of shoes if necessary.
Stimulate foot circulation
Get up and walk around for a few minutes. While working at a desk, circulation often slows from sitting for long periods of time. Moving around for a few minutes every hour or so will help to increase circulation, protecting feet from pain.
Keep feet warm throughout the year
Wear socks made from natural fibres and if possible, wear 2 layers- this provides insulation and keeps the feet warm. Socks made from natural fibres not only provide warmth, but have strong wicking action that absorbs sweat easily, directing moisture away from feet, keeping them dry. Silk sock liners are thin enough to wear under another pair of socks or in snug fitting shoes and boots.
Wear down booties or sheepskin lined slippers and boots while sitting at the desk to hold warmth in around the feet during cold weather or exposure to drafts from air conditioning vents.
Wear leg warmers to keep lower limbs warm. When ankles and calves get cold, often the feet follow suit and wearing leg warmers helps to avoid foot pain by keeping blood flow more active in the lower legs.
Place a small electric space heater at your desk or by your TV chair. Turn it on and off as needed and direct it toward your feet-BUT not directly on your feet. Using a space heater helps avoid foot pain and also higher heating bills from having to heat an entire room or area of your house. Again, use caution to avoid burning yourself.
Eat warming foods to increase circulation. Spices such as cumin, cayenne pepper and ginger help to open tiny capillaries in the skin and increase circulation, warming feet and reducing painful episodes.
Stop smoking and drinking caffeinated beverages. These products cause the capillaries in the body to constrict, reducing blood flow and causing cold hands and feet.
If your feet get icy cold and won’t warm up in a few minutes by using some or all of the above suggestions, try soaking them in tepid water in the bathtub. Water should not be any warmer than lukewarm and no higher than body temperature. Place feet in water slowly and if it feels too hot, cool water down a bit. Add some Epsom salts and apple cider vinegar to stimulate circulation and soothe aching, painful feet.
For more information on any foot conditions, visit the website: http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz to make an appointment
So is some foot pain normal?
From a Podiatrist’s perspective … the answer is no. It is a clear sign that something is wrong, and needs to be evaluated and treated.
Men are the first to admit they usually resist going to a Podiatrist (or Doctor) when their feet hurt. But the good news is that most foot or ankle problems are treatable, and easier to treat when diagnosed early.
Let’s look at foot pain this way—pain is like the oil light in your car. Left unchecked or ignored, what you may consider “some foot pain” can slowly worsen until it becomes more difficult and expensive to resolve.
Men: If you currently have foot pain, here are five foot problems you should never ignore:
Heel Pain- this is often caused by tissue inflammation, but can also result from what is known as a “stress fracture,” or a tight heel cord or plantar fasciitis which left untreated can eventually rupture.
Ankle Sprains- if severe, these should always require a prompt visit to the doctor. If left ignored, sprains may develop into chronic instability or tendon disease which eventually may require surgery.
Joint Stiffness – stiffness of any joint of the foot or ankle that develops slowly allows the natural joint cartilage to wear down leading to pain and loss of function. A painful arthritic joint left to develop over time usually results in joint replacement or fusion.
Tendonitis – usually develops from a sudden increase in physical activity at work or when men play weekend sports. Tendonitis left untreated may lead to a tear or rupture which usually requires casting, surgery or both.
Toenails – whether the toenails are thick or ingrown, “bathroom surgery” should be avoided and is especially considered dangerous if you have diabetes or have poor circulation. Treatment is usually straightforward and less dangerous if treated early.
If you are suffering from any of the above conditions or know of anyone who is also presently suffering, please take a moment and explore our website- http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz and make an appointment now.
Has the summer left you with dry and cracked skin on your heels?
Dry and cracked skin on your heels can lead straight to severe heel pain if you don’t do something about it. If your heels are so badly cracked that they are bleeding, talk to your doctor to make sure you don’t have other underlying problems. For run-of-the-mill dry skin, you can try taming the problem yourself.
Showers and Baths
Use only warm water for showers and baths. Hot water may feel great while you’re in it, but it dries out your skin even more. You should also avoid harsh soaps and body washes. Instead, use unfragranced gentle soaps that can help clean your skin without stripping away essential oils and moisture.
Moisturize Your Skin
Immediately after your shower or bath, pat your skin dry and apply a moisturizer. Moisturizers with urea are much better for severely dry skin because they keep the moisture from evaporating before it can sink into your skin. Apply moisturizer to your skin regularly, especially when your skin is repairing itself.
Severely Dry or Cracked Heels
If your heel pain is caused by severely dry or cracked heels, moisturizer alone may not be enough. Keep up with your regular after-shower routine, but at night slather your feet with petroleum jelly. Add a pair of socks to keep the jelly from rubbing off your feet and leave them on overnight. In the morning you should notice a big difference. I’ve found that doing this for a few nights a week, especially in winter, keeps heels from cracking.
We have an extensive range of Gehwol foot creams for all foot types.
See The Podiatrist for any foot problems.
Sore feet are not only uncomfortable; they can put a big dent in your productivity and turn even the simplest task into a burdensome chore. Causes for sore feet can range from ill-fitting shoes to physical deformities, but luckily there are as many different solutions as there are problems; the trick is finding what works best for you. Many common foot problems like heel spurs, flat feet and torn ligaments can be solved best by using bio-mechanical intervention that can range from drug store variety inserts to custom-made orthotic devices.
Determining the Problem
To find the source of sore feet, start with the obvious culprit, ill-fitting shoes that do not provide the proper support for your body frame. So called “sensible shoes” with low profiles, sturdy arches and ankle support often provide instant relief from minor foot issues caused by inappropriate footwear. Under some conditions, like standing on hard or uneven surfaces all day, additional relief can be provided by drug store inserts that create a layer of cushioning for your feet to reduce the impact of each step. If these simple tactics do not yield favorable results, it is wise to consult with The Podiatrist to examine your feet to determine if you are suffering from treatable foot maladies that would benefit from custom-made orthotic devices.
The Podiatrist can examine your foot to determine if your problem results from an injury to or is the result of the way your foot functions in relation to the rest of your body. Injuries from sports and recreational activities can often be cured by providing proper support during the recuperation process so that the injury is not irritated and can heal properly. These types of inserts, pads and braces are temporary and will eventually become unnecessary.
If the problem lies in the basic structure of your foot, however, a more permanent orthotic will be recommended that is strategically designed to make your foot function correctly when you take a step. A cast of your foot is made and The Podiatrist uses this model to create the proper orthotic out of plastic, wood or rigid rubber. This kind of treatment can not only provide relief for sore feet, it can also have a direct impact on your legs and torso because it subtly changes your posture and corrects muscular issues that stemmed from improper balance.
See The Podiatrist for any foot problems.
Do you suffer from cold hands and feet? As we start getting nearer the winter months (dare I say), there will be many out there with this problem.
The problem is that if you’re a woman, this happens much more easily and dramatically — we do feel the cold more, and it’s all down to hormones.
All of us — men and women — feel cold when our skin gets cold.
Thermo-receptor cells, less than a millimetre below the surface of the skin, are what cause us to experience changes in temperature.
Normally, the skin is kept at a comfortable temperature thanks to blood pumping through the capillaries — tiny, branch-like blood vessels that make up our microcirculation.
But when the thermo-receptors detect cold, they react by causing the capillaries to shut down, diverting blood flow — and warmth — to the heart, lungs and other internal organs. This process is called vasoconstriction.
Incredibly, when we’re cold the amount of blood flowing into the skin in the extremities can become as low as 0.02 litres per minute (the maximum rate is two to three litres per minute).
It’s a bit like placing a blood pressure cuff on the arm.
It’s the hands, face and feet that tend to be coldest and that’s partly because they’re exposed, but it’s also because the body will sacrifice these extremities to keep the internal organs warm.
That’s why our hands turn white, and even blue, in the cold, and why those who survive extremely cold conditions lose fingers and toes to frostbite.
However, in some people — typically women — this process can go haywire, causing their blood vessels to shut down even from a minimal amount of cold.
The blood flow to skin is shut down sooner and more intensely than in men, and afterwards it takes women longer to warm up.
So even though women may feel the cold more than men, it’s their skin temperature — not their core body temperature — that’s colder.
This is partly down to hormones.
In women, the female hormone oestrogen regulates the peripheral blood vessels; high levels of this hormone make them more sensitive to temperature.
As a result, a woman’s temperature will vary during her menstrual cycle as oestrogen levels rise and fall.
It’s suggested this mechanism allows a pregnant woman to ensure her baby is protected from cold, but the causes are still unclear.
There’s also the fact that women have 10 per cent more body fat than men.
Insulation works both ways. The more fat you’ve got, the more you’re defending the inner organs, but it also means you’re stopping heat from reaching the skin.
This phenomenon also explains why women are five times more likely to have Raynaud’s syndrome, a disorder thought to affect women.
It is characterized by extremely cold hands and feet when exposed to the cold — even touching something cold, such as reaching into the freezer.
‘Raynaud’s refers to a wide spectrum of conditions known as vasospastic disorders, which means your microcirculation system is very sensitive. This means that the natural vasoconstriction response to the cold is exaggerated.
It overshoots, so only mild cold causes it to shut down.
Exactly what causes Raynaud’s is unknown, but it can run in families.
The problem can also be triggered by auto-immune conditions such as arthritis and lupus — when it’s known as secondary Raynaud’s.
In a Raynaud’s attack, the capillaries temporarily go into spasm and the blood supply to the extremities is so severely interrupted that the fingers change colour, going white then blue as the supply of oxygenated blood is cut off.
When heat is restored, the hands may swell up and become red and painful as the blood flow returns.
Cold sets it off, but it can be triggered by many things, such as smoking — because nicotine shuts down circulation — and emotion or anxiety, because adrenaline diverts the blood to the muscles.
If you become cold and the blood flow shifts from the peripheries of the body to the centre, the body reacts by getting rid of some fluid to make room for the increased blood volume.
This is why you’ll find that after standing in the cold for a while you’re bursting to go to the loo.
However, all these fluid shifts also increase the likelihood of clotting, and researchers think that may result in the increased cardiac problems.
Cold hands and feet can occasionally be a sign of something more sinister — the blood flow in your body may be interrupted because a vein or artery in the leg has become furred up by fatty deposits, a condition known as peripheral arterial disease.
But here the cold feet tend to be accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain in the arms or legs during exercise (because not enough blood and oxygen is reaching the muscles.
If you’re young and you just get cold feet, you’re probably at the very mild end of the spectrum of Raynaud’s.
So, apart from layering up, what’s the best way to stay warm?
The experts are unanimous in their answer: light exercise. This restores blood flow to the muscles and skin.
Most people have problems in winter because they stop exercising. If you cycle to work or jog while it’s cold, it takes four or five minutes to start to warm up.
Contact The Podiatrist for any foot related concerns.
Every time you take a step, your foot is hit with unforgiving vibrations that can cause tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and more — particularly if you wear high heels or participate in foot-stressing activities, like running.
The muscles in your foot play a huge role in how your body absorbs shock.
To start an at-home foot health routine to reduce pain, try these four moves:
• For strength: Short foot. This is a movement so small, To perform the short foot exercise, stand barefoot and contract the arch of your foot by driving your big toes into the ground. It makes the bottom of the foot contract, it pulls your arch up, and fires your hips and abs — just from that one little movement. “Short footing” a few times a day while you’re doing another activity like brushing your teeth, cooking dinner, or waiting for the bus.
• For strength: Stand on one leg. Now that you know the benefits of single-leg training, try it at home by simply standing barefoot on one foot while standing in line or doing chores around the house. For an extra balance challenge that will really fire your feet, close your eyes — it throws off your centre of gravity and makes balancing more challenging.
• For recovery: Stand on golf balls. Golf balls under your feet work the same as foam roller and massage for other parts of your body-hey break up lactic acid to help muscles relax and recover from stress. If standing on the balls is too intense for you, sit in a chair and roll the golf balls under your feet for a light massage. This exercise can be helpful for arch pain, cramps, and foot pain from plantar fasciitis.
• For recovery: Calf stretches. Tight calves put a lot of strain on your feet, which is why The Podiatrist recommends stretching your calves daily. For a simple stretch, face a wall from two to three feet away. Lean into the wall, keeping your heels on the floor and your knees extended, and hold. For a deeper stretch, stand on one leg on a stair, holding a railing for support. Drop your heel, so that it hangs off the step, and push it down with your weight until you feel a stretch in your calf.
Contact The Podiatrist for any of your foot problems.
Heel pain affects a large portion of the population, often resulting in visits to The Podiatrist. Plantar fasciitis is typically the diagnosis the patient receives during the visit; however, plantar fasciitis is only one potential cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a strong, dense strip of tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. Its sole job is to support the arch of the foot. .
It is easy to see how the plantar fascia may be causing all this pain as the foot impacts the ground when you think about how often the full weight of the body is concentrated on the plantar fascia. This forces it to stretch as the arch of the foot flattens from the full weight of the body, possibly leading to stress where the plantar fascia attaches at the heel bone. If this keeps up, the result can be pain caused by small tears of the fascia.
If it is not the plantar fascia then what else could be causing my heel pain?
Calf muscle weakness (muscles on the back of the lower leg) can result in referred pain directly to the heel.This is seen after someone has changed/added a workout program or modified the type of shoes they wear. This adds additional stress to the calf muscles that they may not have been ready for and lead small areas of irritation in the muscles.>
Calf muscle tightness – this causes the connective tissue surrounding the muscle to pull harder on the Achilles tendon leading to tightness at the heel, possibly resulting in the pain you’re feeling.
Sciatic nerve irritation – the nerve that runs from the low back through the hip and down the leg to the foot can get tight or pinched not allowing the nerve to move easily as you walk. This can lead to irritation of the nerve causing pain that is located at the heel. This is very common for anyone with any history of low back pain or hip pain.
Poor Posture – if you sit slumped forward most of the day the muscles and structures from the back of your neck, upper back, lower back, and hips can get tight and shortened, consequently pulling on the heel.>
Weakness of the muscles around the hip can cause muscles in the leg to shorten to help stabilize, consequently pulling on the heel.>
Why is this so confusing?
It may be hard for you to pinpoint the cause of heel pain yourself because the symptoms are the same for all of the above listed causes. No matter what the cause, you will experience pain on or around the heel when weight is placed on the foot. This is usually worse in the morning, especially with the first few steps after getting out of bed. In most cases, there is no pain at night, but this is not a rule as many of our patients report increased pain at night. Pain of typical plantar fasciitis is typically believed to decrease over the course of the day as the tissue warms up; however, patients have also reported increased discomfort as the day progresses, leading on to investigate other areas as the source or cause. Additionally, prolonged standing, walking, or getting up after long periods of sitting are commonly reported with all of the above causes. Again, the reports can be as varied as the potential causes.
Activities that make the pain worse:
Excessive running or jumping
Changing physical activity (especially for athletes)
High arches, flat feet, abnormal gait
Wearing improper shoes while walking or running
The Steps to Relieve Heel Pain
In most cases, heel pain does not require surgery and can be treated conservatively, but the first step is to obtain an evaluation by The Podiatrist who can help pin point the actual cause of the pain that’s specific to you. It is important to not treat the symptom of heel pain, but to isolate and treat the cause.
The Podiatrist may then recommend treatment , depending on the needs of your particular condition. In extremely painful conditions, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, and in severe cases give you a cortisone shot to address excessive inflammation.
Most people with heel pain get better with the help of The Podiatrist, but don’t wait. The longer you “live” with the pain the longer it may take to get rid of it as your body adapts. Most acute cases (less than 30 days) can get better within 6-8 weeks. Additionally, treatment should include activities that directly address the cause of your heel pain and are designed to include you in the healing process, so your participation is critical.
The Podiatrist specializes in the treatment and management of all foot related problems and will assess what is the cause of your foot/heel pain, not the symptom.
For more information or to find out if you are a good candidate for our services contact The Podiatrist