If you have active kids, making sure they’re wearing the right shoes for what they’re doing, and for their own unique physique, can be as important and wearing their retainers or washing their faces.
- One in three children who plays a team sport is injured seriously enough to miss practice or games.
- Children’s bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing, making them more susceptible to injury.
When it comes to issues of our kids’ we need to know to keep them safe, and help them understand how to do things right.
A few things we can do, and remind them to do, include:
- Kids should have at least one or two days off from any particular sport each week to avoid overuse injuries.
- If you experience a foot or ankle injury while playing sports, early attention is key to preventing further damage. Always ice the injury, never use heat.
- Choose footwear specific to your activity. Sneakers made for tennis players will provide different support and traction than cleats made for football players.
- If you participate in a certain sport at least two to three times a week, you should wear a sport-specific shoe.
- Go to a store that specializes in athletic shoes, or The Podiatrist for suggestions.
- Be sure to have their feet measured every time you purchase new shoes, as feet size and shape can change (especially in kids) as we age.
For all your foot problems, visit The Podiatrist
Neglecting your child’s foot health invites problems in other parts of the body, such as the legs and back.
Foot health begins in childhood because your child’s feet must carry him or her for a lifetime. Your child’s life is certain to be happier and more enjoyable if you have your child develop strong, healthy feet as he or she grows into adulthood.
In the first year, a child’s foot grows rapidly reaching almost half their adult foot size. The Podiatrist considers the first year to be the most important in regards to development.
To help ensure normal growth, parents should allow their baby to kick and stretch his or her feet and make sure shoes and socks do not squeeze their toes.
Children should not wear shoes until they can walk, so avoid pram shoes, which are normally soft, and usually made to match outfits. For babies, avoid tightly wrapped blankets that prevent kicking and leg movement. Walking barefoot, where it is safe, is also good for children. However, children’s feet are vulnerable to deformity from any ill-fitting footwear or hosiery until the bones are completely formed at about 18 years of age. In addition, socks made from natural materials are better for your child’s feet than stretch-fit socks.
When buying shoes for your child, the shape of the shoe and the toe area should be wide and round, allowing for toes to move and spread. It is also important for the shoe to have a lace or a buckle, without this your child’s toes will claw to hold the shoe on. The heel of the shoe should not be too high, as high heels can also result in foot deformity.
Parents are encouraged to contact The Podiatrist for further consultation on their child’s growing, active feet. Having strong, healthy helps children to walk, run, and play, which is why it is important to take extra precautions to protect their feet in order to provide them a lifetime of healthy feet.
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
Flat feet and turned feet are commonly seen in young children.
Flat feet happen when the arch of the foot is flatter than normal. It can be much flatter than normal. While flat feet are seen in people of all ages, it is most noticed at first in children. In many cases, the arch will form with age. However, for some children, the flattening causes painful feet.
Flat feet become more noticeable when the child starts to walk, and by the age of 3 the arch should be able to be seen during walking. If the feet are still flat at this age, then parents should have their child’s feet examined by The Podiatrist. If the arch is not looked at, then the child risks long term damage to the feet.
Turned feet can be noticed even before a child starts to walk.
Your child’s feet should not be turned in or out excessively. The foot should not be upward resting on or too near the leg. When holding your baby, the feet should hang naturally and similarly – one should not be turned out, in up or down more than the other. Many early foot deformities can occur only on one side.
Signs of a flat foot are a low or flat arch, an outward turned heel during walking.
The child may complain of sore or tired feet after walking or playing. Children with painful flat feet sometimes have trouble keeping up with friends because their feet get too sore or tired. If the arch is too flat, then foot muscles and joints have to work harder than normal during walking and running. Flat feet also change how the ankles, knees, legs, hips, and back work, and so there may also be pain and tiredness in these places.
Depending on the examination and history of the problem, The Podiatrist may decide to treat the flat feet. If the flat feet are mild, and if the child is still very young, The Podiatrist may simply want to see the child back in a few months. This way we can re-check the arches. If the flat feet are more severe, then treatment may be started. Usually treatment begins with exercise and foot inserts, or orthotics. The orthotics will re-align the feet to help the child walk more properly. Stretches or physical therapy may also be recommended.
If you have any concerns about your child and their feet, contact The Podiatrist.
Kids ‘n Motion Podiatry- Leading Podiatrist in Children’s Foot Problems, invites parents to bring their children into the one of its kind in Auckland- a child specific Podiatry practice. The clinic has a friendly environment and is ideally set up for assessing children of all ages (lots of fun activities). Parents are asked to be cautious of the health of their children’s feet to help maintain a healthy, active life style.
Children with strong, healthy feet avoid many kinds of lower extremity problems later in life. That is why it is important to inspect your children’s feet periodically. If a problem is suspected, I encourage you to bring your children into the clinic for evaluation. It is always our joy to make sure our paediatric patients remain fit, and active with healthy feet.
The size and shape of an infant’s feet change quickly during their first year. Because a baby’s feet are flexible, too much pressure or strain can affect the shape of their feet. It’s important to allow an infant to kick and stretch their feet freely. The Podiatrist also suggests that parents make sure their baby’s shoes and socks do not squeeze the toes, as this can cause painful foot conditions.
For toddlers, it is important to not force them to walk before they are ready. Once walking begins naturally, watch the toddler’s gait. Many toddlers have a pigeon-toe gait, which is normal. Some will initially learn to walk landing on their toes instead of their heels, but most children outgrow both of these problems. The Podiatrist informs parents that conditions detected early can be treated more easily than waiting for pain to occur.
The foot’s bone structure is well-formed by the time children reach age seven or eight, but if a growth plate (the area where bone growth begins) is injured, the damaged plate may cause the bone to grow oddly. With The Podiatrist’s care, however, the risk of future bone problems is reduced.
The Podiatrist urges parents to check their child’s show size often, making sure there is space between the toes and the end of the shoe and that the shoes are roomy enough to allow the toes to move freely. Whether children are experiencing heel pain, knee pain, or any other conditions, The Podiatrist invites parents to bring their children in.
Kids ‘n Motion Podiatry is committed to providing patients with exceptional care.