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.