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
You remember preparing for your first day of school; the shopping, in particular shoe shopping, and the wonder of a pair of brand new sneakers, shoes or even sandals. Somehow, the experience is very different when, as a parent, you have to be concerned about size and budget, instead of style and colour as your child!
Since parents tend to take advantage of back to school sales, health experts advise that you have to be careful about which shoes and school bags are bought. Shopping for new school shoes is a chore that parents everywhere share, as they prepare their children for school for the first time, or on their return from holidays
Children spend around 30-45 hours a week in their school shoes, or more than 15,000 hours during their school years, so it’s vital that they’re fitted properly. In the first 11 years of a child’s life, feet may grow through approximately 17 shoe sizes, up until they’re 18 years of age. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to problems in adulthood, such as ingrown toenails, corns and bunions, which may even require surgery later in life.
Important Purchasing Advice
• Always have your child’s feet measured before you buy shoes. Children’s feet grow quickly, so you shouldn’t rely on a previous measurement.
• Opt for new shoes, once financially possible, instead of accepting hand-me-downs. That will help ensure a better fit and avoid spreading germs, such as the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
• Inspect the heels of your child’s shoes for uneven wear, which may indicate a foot problem.
• Don’t buy shoes that aren’t comfortable. There should be no reason to “break in” a new pair of shoes.
It’s no surprise that kids want to be like other kids and wear what their friends are wearing. Even in pre-school, style is important. Still, from mom and dad’s point of view, there is more to shoes than looking good.
These tips will explain why:
• Shoes need to be flexible and able to sustain extreme activity. They should also provide support and cushioning and be breathable, to allow body heat and moisture to escape.
• However, a bad fit can negate all the benefits of a good shoe, so finding the right size is essential. Since shoe sizes tend to vary by manufacturer, an accurate fit can only be assured once the foot is inside the shoe.
• A tip for making sure that the shoe size fits, is measuring the distance between the second toe and the end of the shoe. The second toe is usually the longest.
• Have your child walk around in the shoes to make sure that they don’t hit the ankle bones or have seams that rub against the foot.
• Though it may seem children quickly outgrow their shoes, buying shoes that are too big isn’t a good idea. A loose fit can cause painful calluses and sores, because there is too much movement in the shoe. On the other hand, shoes that are too small can cause an abnormal gait that can misalign growing bones in the feet.
It may be time to get a new pair of shoes if your child begins to complain about shoes that are uncomfortable; be aware, however, that trend conscious youngsters have been known to “need” new shoes because of what the others kids are wearing. Shoes can put a dent in any household budget, so make sure that the shoes fit when you buy them, and before you buy a bigger pair of shoes.
Buy shoes at the end of the day
While you might decide to head out bright and early to get your child’s shoes fitted, bear in mind that it’s best to go during late afternoon. This is because children’s feet often get a little more swollen by the end of the day. That way, you’ll get school shoes fitted when your child’s feet are at their biggest.
Other things to look out for
While you might usually expect to only think about school shoes and your kids’ feet once a year, here’s a checklist of things to look out for, and see a podiatrist/foot health practitioner if necessary:
• Children complaining of pain in the feet, heel, knees or legs
• Unexplained tripping and falling (if it happens regularly)
• Uneven shoe wear, or one shoe that wears down before the other
• Skin or toenail irritation.
Do share this information with your kids who are old enough to appreciate the advice to minimise peer pressure, and ultimately your stress levels … Happy shopping!
Your feet mirror your general health… cherish them!
There is a great range of summer sandals ideal for school and casual wear available from Scooters.
Children’s feet change with age. Shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child’s feet grow.
- Shoes that don’t fit properly can aggravate the feet. Always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes, and watch for signs of irritation.
- Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way. Also, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
- Examine the heels. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.
- Take your child shoe shopping. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.
- Always buy for the larger foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size.
- Buy shoes that do not need a “break-in” period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Also make sure to have your child try on shoes with socks or tights, if that’s how they’ll be worn.
- Consider closed toe shoes. Covering the child’s toes allows for more protection.
Do Your Child’s Shoes “Make The Grade?”
- Look for a stiff heel. Press on both sides of the heel counter. It shouldn’t collapse.
- Check toe flexibility. The shoe should bend with your child’s toes. It shouldn’t be too stiff or bend too much in the toe box area.
- Select a shoe with a rigid middle. Does your shoe twist? Your shoe should never twist in the middle.
- Are the shoes secure on the foot? Laces or Velcro are best to hold the foot in place.
Additional Advice for Parents
- Foot problems noticed at birth will not disappear by themselves. Do not wait until children get older to fix a problem. Foot problems in youths can lead to create problems down the road.
- Get your child checked by The Podiatrist. A lack of complaint by a youngster is not a reliable sign that there is no problem. The bones of growing feet are so flexible that they can be twisted and distorted without the child being aware of it.
- Walking is the best of all foot exercises. Observe your child’s walking patterns. Does your child have gait abnormalities? Correct the problem before it becomes a bigger issue.
- Going barefoot is a healthy activity for children under the right conditions. However, walking barefoot on dirty pavement can expose children’s feet to the dangers of infection through accidental cuts and to severe contusions, sprains or fractures. Plantar warts, a virus on the sole of the foot, can also be contracted.
Children’s sports-related injuries are on the rise. A child’s visit to The Podiatrist can help determine any concerns there may be regarding the child participating in specific sports and help identify the activities that may be best suited for the individual child.
Visit The Podiatrist for any concerns you may have.
You are only given 1 pair and they have to last a lifetime.
Whether you’re taking a sightseeing trip, walking the dog, or traipsing along in your favorite pair of heels, your feet can get a lot of wear and tear during this time of year — as well as year-round.
But unless there’s pain, most people in general don’t really pay a lot of attention to their foot health.
Here are 13 mistakes to watch out for:
• Wrong footwear: The biggest problem that I see when patients come to see me with foot problems is they’re wearing the wrong shoe, such as jandals, or the wrong size of shoe.
The right shoe varies from person to person and depends on such factors as whether the individual has flat feet or high arches, or a disease, such as diabetes, that can affect foot health.
For diabetics, The Podiatrist can prescribe special shoes which tend to be seamless and deeper than regular shoes.
Diabetics need to be careful with their feet because people with the disease often have circulation problems and a difficult time feeling pain in their feet. That makes them susceptible to ulcers and open wounds that can lead to infections and amputations. A lot of diabetics, they would like to get in their sandals and shoes and not wear their diabetic shoes, but that’s where they get into trouble.
• Failing to try on new shoes: A lot of times you will see a pretty shoe and you just grab it and you go. Make sure you try the shoe on. Make sure you walk around in the store. Make sure that you get it properly fitted and have the right cushion or insole in the shoe and that you seek medical attention when you experience foot problems, instead of letting any problems linger.
• Not taking good care of shoes: Especially if you’re a runner, don’t let your shoes get too old, and mind the weather. Leaving shoes in a hot car is enough to make the rubber materials not function properly.
• Wearing jandals: With a jandal type of shoe, people have to grasp with their toes, and their foot can come out of the shoe. The grasping process can cause pain all the way up into the leg.
• Going barefoot: This is generally a bad idea because the feet need support and padding. There’s also the danger of stepping on a sharp object or breaking a toe, People with neuropathy (nerve damage) in their feet could get injured without even knowing it. Also, despite the introduction of minimalist running shoes that are supposed to be similar to going barefoot, not a lot of people can tolerate such lack of cushioning.
• Wearing sky-high shoes: When you wear a very high heel, there’s a lot of pressure on the base of the toes which can lead to pain and calluses.
The Podiatrist recommends not wearing high heels for any extended amount of walking. Any time you go much higher than 2 ½ inches, it’s very unnatural on the ankle and the foot and throws the weight forward so much that it’s easier to fall and turn your ankle.
• Wearing shoes that are too flat: Ballet flats tend to be too low, and most people feel better in a shoe with at least a little bit of a heel and some cushioning. The sole of the shoe needs to be firm. If the sole of the shoe is too soft, your foot is going to bend a lot and there will be a lot of weight on the ball of the foot.
• Not examining the feet: The Podiatrist recommends every six months for diabetics to have their (feet) examined. When they do come in, we do a thorough circulation exam. We do a thorough neurological exam and examine their feet and examine their shoes … and if we identify any complications or any problems, then we let them know how to manage it.
Checking your own feet is a good idea, too. Briefly each day, examine the bottom of your feet to make sure there’s nothing going on, especially if you’re diabetic, Ahmed said. You can use a makeup mirror or a long-handled mirror.
• Failing to address medical conditions: With diabetics, if you don’t have your sugars under control, you are not going to heal an ulcer no matter what you do to it.
Heart disease and weight problems also can affect foot health.
• Being obese: Obesity can contribute to foot deformities, with extra pressure on the ankle joints, there’s more pressure on the smaller joints of the foot, which are fragile. People will get more flat feet. People will tend to get more bunion pain, more hammer toes. They also can develop plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the ligament on the bottom of the feet, he said. If people lose at least 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, their symptoms usually resolve on their own.
Obesity also is affecting the size of people’s feet. A lot of shoe companies do not make wide varieties, and with the increasing rate of obesity in our country, people are getting wider feet.
• Standing too much: Plantar fasciitis is really worsened by standing a lot in one place. If you have to do that, you should try to shift your weight from side to side and consider purchasing over-the-counter arch support, a plastic piece that goes under the arch.
• Being a weekend warrior: Many people who are sedentary during the week will get involved in physical activity, such as golfing and running, on weekends and wind up with ankle sprains and pain. They’ll try to do all of these things that they’re not used to doing, so their ankle will get sprained. Stretching before and after exercise and having a regular regimen of working out so that you’re not just going from zero to 60.
• Allowing moisture to hang around: Beware of fungal infections. Fungus loves moisture and fungus is everywhere; the spores are in the air. If your feet are kept moist enough, fungus will start growing, so change your socks more often, keep them dry and don’t put wet shoes on. Try to rotate shoes so you don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row.
For more any problems, visit The Podiatrist
Heel and arch pain are the most common foot complaints of individuals over the age of 40. The group that most commonly experiences heel and arch pain consist of middle-aged women. In addition, active athletes and people working on hard surfaces or walking great distances are susceptible to plantar fascitis and developing heel spurs or sore arches. The pain can progressively get worse so that activities of daily living are adversely affected.
Plantar Fascia Defined
The plantar fascia connects to the calcaneus or heel bone on the undersurface of the foot to the bones of the toes. Its purpose is to support the large arch of the foot. When the fascia becomes injured or inflamed, it’s called plantar fascitis.
What Can Cause Plantar Fascitis?
Plantar fascitis begins with injury to the ligaments and fascia. The fascia helps to maintain the large arch on the inside of the foot. It may affect one or both feet. In most cases, it begins gradually and may be made worse by the following:
- Poorly Fitting Shoes – Shoes lacking firm shanks and counters allow the foot to override the shoe so it appears like the foot has slid off the sole of the shoe. This is commonly called “running over the shoe”.
- Pronation and Pes Planus – “Flat feet” is a rolling inward of the arch.
- Prolonged Standing on Hard Surfaces Such as Concrete
- Walking, Dancing or Running Great Distances – These result in repetitive strain on the bottom of the foot.
- Being Overweight – Extra weight on the arches is stressful.
- Sex – Females over age 40 are more susceptible.
Symptoms of Plantar Fascitis
The presentation of complaints to the doctor includes heel pain upon arising first thing in the morning. The first dozen steps or so are very painful until the fascia loosens up and becomes more flexible. The pain seems to subside only to get worse as the day progresses.
Diagnosis of Plantar Fascitis
The diagnosis of plantar fascitis is arrived at from a combination of
history and physical examination of the foot and lower leg. A classic complaint is heel pain when getting out of bed and beginning to walk. Compression of the calcaneus or heel bone on the sides of the heel is painful. X-rays may be necessary if the doctor suspects a stress fracture to one of the small bones of the foot. Many of the causes of plantar fascitis may contribute to a stress fracture in the foot.
Pain and numbness in the foot at night may also be attributed to a condition called tarsal tunnel sydrome. This is a nerve entrapment in the ankle that may produce similar symptoms as those found with plantar fascitis. Both conditions can bother at night when trying to sleep. Other conditions including arthritis, gout and other systemic problems can also contribute to foot pain.
The immediate treatment goal is to reduce the swelling and inflammation to the soft tissue in the foot. Ice treatment to the foot is initially prescribed. Wearing shoes with a firm counter and shank to prevent bowing of the shoe as well as “running over the side of the shoe” is recommended. Discontinuing running and sports activities reduces stress on the foot. The use of orthotics can be very helpful in restoring the arch (flat foot) and correcting pronation (turning in of the foot). Restoring the arch reduces the stress on the knee, hip and spine. Specific exercises will be given for the foot.
It’s difficult for any one treatment protocol to resolve or control plantar fascitis. The combination of proper footwear, treatment, exercise and modification of activity can be successful. Patient compliance is essential to help in the care and treatment. It may take from a few weeks to several months to resolve the problem. Re-injury and aggravation play a large role in the recovery process. The importance of compliance cannot be stressed enough.
If plantar fascitis is ignored and not treated, it may complicate or contribute to ankle, knee, hip and spinal complaints. The biomechanics of gait may be altered.
The Podiatrist has experience in the care and treatment of plantar fascitis and heel spurs. Call today to make an appointment.
A day in the sun can end with a day at the doctor’s office if the proper safety measures are ignored. Before children catch a glimpse of the giant slide at the pool, the oversized toys at the park or the exciting rides at the amusement park, prepare them with the right footwear and protect them with the right care.
- Carefully observe your child’s walking patterns. Does your child have toes that point in or out, have knock-knees or other gait abnormalities? These problems can be corrected if they are detected early and treated by aThe Podiatrist.
- Children’s feet change size rapidly, so always have your child’s feet measured each time you purchase new shoes.
- When shopping for shoes, look for stiff material on either side of the heel, adequate cushioning and a built-in arch. The shoe should bend at the ball of the foot, not in the middle of the shoe. Never wear hand-me-down shoes.
- Limit the time children wear platform or heeled shoes and alternate with good quality sneakers or flat shoes. High-tops generally help prevent ankle sprains.
- Don’t buy shoes that need a “break-in” period. Good shoes should feel comfortable right away. For athletic activities, choose a shoe that is designed for the sport your child will be playing.
- Never pack brand-new shoes for your children to wear on vacation.
- Walking barefoot on pavement, hotel or airplane carpeting, in hotel bathrooms or a locker room and near the pool can make your child susceptible to a host of infections. Always wear a pair of flip-flops or strappy sandals made of soft, supple leather to prevent contracting a bacteria or fungus like athlete’s foot or plantar warts.
- When applying sunscreen, don’t forget to put some on your child’s feet. Additionally, always remember to re-apply.
- Lack of complaints by a youngster is not a reliable sign. The bones of growing feet are so flexible that they can be twisted and distorted without the child being aware.
- Be careful about applying home remedies to children’s feet. Preparations strong enough to kill certain types of fungus can harm the skin.
Your best bet is to visit The Podiatrist.
When was the last time you had your feet measured? If you can’t quite remember, your so-called tried-and-true shoes may have your feet crying out for a different size.
That’s right, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), 40 percent of male and female respondents couldn’t remember the last time their feet were measured. Additionally, 65 percent of American women between the ages of 18 and 49 haven’t had their feet measured within the last five years — meaning they are probably trekking around in shoes that don’t fit.
And since the survey also reports that 84 percent of both male and female respondents chose comfort over style when buying non-athletic shoes, its surprising that foot measurements have gone by the wayside.
Many people don’t realize that shoe size can change with age, from manufacturer to manufacturer and for many women during pregnancy. Not to mention, an ill-fitting shoe can wreak havoc on your feet. With the possibility of painful blisters and unsightly corns to unnerving neuromas and irritating bunions, there’s nothing like finding a shoe with the perfect fit.
Here are a few tips that will help you put your best foot forward:
* It’s important to remember that when you’re getting fitted for a new shoe, you should wait until later in the day because your feet swell throughout the afternoon. And be sure to stand when your feet are being measured or fitted.
* Don’t be surprised if your feet aren’t the same size. If you have this problem, try to buy for the larger foot.
* You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, so the same rule should apply to your shoes. Always try on both shoes, and walk around the store, preferably on a hard surface.
* Stay away from shoes that require a “break-in” period. Properly fitting shoes should be comfortable immediately.
* Conduct a “dress rehearsal.” Try on shoes while you are wearing the same type of socks or stockings you expect to wear with the shoes.
For more information and guidelines on caring for your feet see The Podiatrist.
All of us have experienced tired and aching feet at one point or another, especially after long periods of dancing, shopping, walking or standing. As we age, the incidence of tired and aching feet become much more frequent and prolonged. Research has shown that fallen foot arches, or what is described in podiatric terms as over-pronated flat feet, causes a person to use more energy when walking, resulting in greater fatigue at the end of a day than people with normal feet. Strenuous walking or standing for long periods has an obvious effect on your feet. Other factors include ill fitting, poorly padded shoes, tight socks or stockings and tight garters. Reduced blood circulation to the ankles and feet also causes tired aching feet.
Contributing factors to tired and aching feet
There are multiple factors that contribute to the development of tired and aching feet:
• Age: as we age, the natural thick pad on the soles of our feet begin to thin. Additionally, our feet widen and flatten, and the skin on our feet also becomes drier. In some cases, foot pain in older people may be the first sign of arthritis, diabetes, and circulatory disease.
• Gender: Women are at higher risk than men for severe foot pain, especially women who wear high-heeled shoes. As a result, severe foot pain is a major cause of general disability in older women. Pregnant women have an increased risk of aching feet due to weight gain, swelling in their feet and ankles, and the release of certain hormones that cause ligaments to relax.
• Dehydration: your feet have approximately 250,000 sweat glands, and can excrete as much as a quarter of a litre of moisture each day. Therefore, it is important to remember to drink plenty of water, throughout the day.
Treatment and relief for tired, aching feet
• Lie on the floor and put your feet up on a couch or bed for about 15-20 minutes. This is a way of clearing the lymph modes and the water retention, which is a fairly common and very likely cause for aching feet.
• Soak your feet in Tea Tree Oil in warm water either in a basin or you can use a foot spa if you have one. Peppermint oil is good for the feet and has a soothing affect. Or use a good foot cream to relax your feet.
• Wear orthotic insoles in your shoes. Orthotics control over-pronation and support your arches, taking away one of the major causes of tired, aching feet!
• Have your feet massaged regularly
• Exercising your feet can help to keep them healthy. It tones your muscles, helps to strengthen the arches, and stimulates blood circulation. Here are some foot exercises:
1. Rise on your tiptoes: Stand with feet parallel. While holding on to a steady piece of furniture for support, rise slowly up and down on your tiptoes. This exercises the leg muscles and helps strengthen the foot muscles.
2. Extend the sole of your foot while sitting down. Extend and stretch the foot in as straight a line with the leg as possible.
3. Rotate the feet while sitting. Extend feet one at a time and rotate slowly at the ankle, as if trying to draw the largest circle possible with the big toe. Do this first in one direction, then the other.
4. Move your toes: Remain sitting with feet resting on the floor. Move the toes up and down. This will decrease internal rotation of the legs and the stretching on the leg muscles, thereby reducing tired, aching legs.
The Podiatrist is an expert for all your foot problems.
- You first notice a problem with your child’s feet.
- A relative or friend makes comment about your child’s feet.
- Your child complains of tired or sore feet or legs.
- Your child is not walking by the age of 18 months.
- Your child wants to be carried most of the time.
As registered podiatrists in Auckland, New Zealand we believe our parents and little patients deserve to have the information needed to make good choices about their foot and ankle care.
Caron Orelowitz – Podiatrist
Many adult foot problems have their origins in childhood and are present at birth. Professional attention and regular foot care can minimize these problems in later life.
Neglecting foot health invites problems in other parts of the body, such as the legs and back. There can also be undesirable personality effects. The youngster with troublesome feet walks awkwardly and usually has poor general posture. As a result, the growing child may become shy, introverted, and avoid physical activities and social functions. Consultation between The Podiatrist at Kids ‘n Motion and other health professionals can help to resolve these problems.
Some children have poor balance and are clumsy. This is because the nerve messages from their feet are not being transmitted to the head efficiently. This can be treated by the Kids ‘n Motion Podiatrists. Children who have poor balance look down, put their arms out and take very small steps when performing very simple balance related activities.
Some children will be required to do exercises to improve their posture, balance and foot function. At Kids ‘n Motion Podiatrists we customise an exercise program for each child. Digital photos of your child doing their exercises will be provided. This service is a helpful reminder for you at home when performing exercises.
Kid n Motion Website for happy feet and children.
To discuss your child’s feet with a qualified and experienced Podiatrist in Auckland - Contact Caron Orelowitz.