Urban Rehab Articles
Children’s Foot Care: Building The Foundation of Healthy Footcare Habits for Life
Our children are precious. As new born babies we marvel at their tiny toes. At this stage, their feet are soft and pliable. As your little ones grow, their feet will change and develop. This is an exciting time of new discoveries, however parents are may be unsure if the changes that they are seeing are normal or if there is cause for concern. Many also wonder if their children’s feet should be developing faster.
Often it is the time when our children start to walk that our attention is drawn to their feet. Before they get to this stage, it is a good idea dress them in booties. This will protect the feet and will get your baby accustomed to the feeling of covered feet. Some research has shown that putting your baby in a walker may result a delay in normal walking activities such as crawling or normal walking. In fact, in Canada the use of baby walkers is banned. Babygrows and sleepsuits should be long enough and socks should not be too tight as they may restrict movement. Once your child starts walking it is important that their footwear is fitted by trained shoe fitter. You are setting the footwear habits of a lifetime so here are some tips to help you along the way.
- Shoes should have a firm sole and a wide toe box.
- The weather is hot in Singapore so the use of sandals are alright as long as there is a firm back and a Velcro strap. Jelly shoes, ballet flats, platform sneakers may be appealing but these may cause foot problems due to poor fit and lack of good arch support
- When it comes to sports, footwear is very important. Always match the footwear to the sport and to your child’s foot type. It’s a minefield out there so if you are feeling lost, a podiatrist can help with foot type assessment and footwear advice.
Some foot conditions are hereditary, so if you have a foot issue, then check to see if your children’s feet look similar. Often parents get an intuitive feel that there is a problem with the way that their child is walking or running. You should seek professional foot care advice from a qualified podiatrist if you notice your child often trips when walking or running, is walking on tip toes, walks with their toes pointing outwards or inwards, is complaining of persistent pain in their feet or experiencing excessive tiredness in the legs and feet.
It is not just children’s unique development pattern that differentiates their feet from adults. Children are always on the go, they are doing so many different types of activities that can give rise to foot problems. Children are more prone to verrucae pedis (warts), corns, athletes foot (fungal infection) and ingrown toenails. Some good foot hygiene habits include ensuring that your child’s feet are washed and dried thoroughly. Special attention should be paid to the area between the toes. Toe nails should be trimmed regularly and trimmed straight across. If you notice that your child has any of these conditions, a podiatrist is well equipped to help treat them.
Unlike teeth and eyes, foot health in kids is often neglected. This may not only lead to problems in the feet, but elsewhere as well such as the knees, legs and back. If you are in doubt about your child’s feet, do make an appointment with a qualified podiatrist. A podiatrist with a special interest in sports and paediatrics will be able to assess your child thoroughly. A thorough check should include assessing alignment, joint movement, bone, muscle and soft tissue of the foot, leg, back and sometimes up to the spine. It is important that the assessment includes non-weight bearing assessment (sitting), weight bearing (standing) assessment as well as dynamic (walking and running) assessment. In our clinic, we use video gait analysis equipment to assess if your child is walking and running properly.
A good podiatrist will be able to explain all of their findings clearly. Once it is determined if there is an issue and what the cause a treatment plan will be agreed upon to get your child back on track. The treatment plan may involve stretching or strengthening exercises for your child and footwear advice. For children in sports our podiatrist may teach parents and children how to tape the foot, this can provide support to the foot and reduce pain levels. Orthotics may also be prescribed to support the arch of the foot or realign foot position. For those children that do require orthotics I will help you and your child through the process of getting used to the orthotic offering advice along the way. If you feel that your child would benefit from an assessment with a qualified podiatrists please call at Urban Rehab and make an appointment.