Your Kids and Their Feet
A child’s foot health is an important part of his or her overall well-being. As a parent, you should learn vital foot care habits to achieve the benefits of truly healthy ankles and feet for their entire lives.
Children often start walking between the ages of eight and eighteen months. Parents usually notice that their toddlers are quite flat-footed or that they turn their feet inwards. This is because ligament stiffness, as well as muscle strength, still need to catch up to their other developments. Their flat feet, however, almost usually improves when their feet strengthen, too.
As your child is just beginning to walk, he or she also receives vital sensory information that comes from their soles. The shoes should be worn to protect your toddler’s tiny feet from sharp objects and also to give support for their feet.
Once there is a need for your toddler to wear shoes, if possible, have them professionally fitted. Length and width should both be considered. Remember that children’s feet grow quite fast and therefore their shoes would be needing replacement every few months. Do not let your child suffer from shoes that are too tight as they can also get in the way of your child’s walking progress. They may also cause concerns like ingrown toenails.
Some of the foot-related problems common in children include:
For the first two years, children’s feet seem to have fallen arches. They are normal in toddlers because they still have weak muscles in their foot, as well as a thick padding of fat and ankle ligaments. This leads to the foot leaning inwards. These ligaments and muscles will soon strengthen and the fat will soon be less noticeable.
Feet that Turn Inwards or Outwards
A lot of toddlers walk with one or both feet turning inwards. This maybe normal and is a sign of progressing posture and balance. You have to pay attention and see that it doesn’t involve the legs and hips. There should be an improvement by the time your child reaches one to two years of age. Otherwise, ask your podiatrist for a thorough assessment.
There are also toddlers who walk with feet turned outward. This is noticeably common in prematurely-born children. In many cases, this corrects itself with time.
Other Symptoms to Watch Out For:
- Persistent ingrown toenails
- Bunions and deformities
- Abnormally-shaped toes
- Painful walking
- Flat feet over the age of five
- Abrupt change in the manner of walking
- Incapability to walk at the age of two
If you notice any of these in your child, visit Sheldon H. Nadal, DPM, an experienced podiatrist for proper treatment.