Your child’s growing feet
Previously we discussed shoes for babies and toddlers. Today we will cover tips for growing feet once the toddler years have passed. With so many styles of shoes available and with feet that grow fast, it can be hard to know just what is appropriate for your child’s footwear. Between 75 and 80 percent of all adults have foot problems, and many of these problems are related to improperly fitting shoes.
After your child begins wearing shoes, be sure to have his or her feet measured regularly. Children’s feet grow fast, and it can be appropriate to measure their feet as frequently as every six to eight weeks, especially in the first few years of life. More and more frequently, foot disorders previously seen in adults are beginning to show up in children, primarily due to poorly fitting shoes.
Fitting shoes for children
Fitting shoes for children is not terribly different from fitting shoes for adults, although children need to have their feet measured much more frequently and an allowance for growth needs to be factored in. Just like adults, children often have one foot that is larger than the other. Always have the child try on both shoes in a pair, but fit the shoes to the larger foot. Ensure that there is plenty of room around the toes for growth, but that the shoes fit snuggly without being tight over the rest of the foot. Have the child walk in the shoes and look for signs of the heel slipping up and down or side to side — these are signs that the shoe is too large or too wide. Also pay attention to wear the shoe “breaks” or bends. As the child steps, the shoe should break straight across the ball of the foot. If it is breaking ahead of the ball of the foot, the shoes are too large. Additionally, avoid the temptation to hand-down shoes from one child to the next or to purchase used shoes. Shoes mold to a child’s feet, and wearing used shoes may do more harm than good.
Foot hygiene for children
Teach your children to care for their feet early in order to help them avoid common foot problems later. This includes teaching them to wash their feet properly and regularly, and to ensure that they dry their feet thoroughly. Cut toe nails straight across, and avoid rounding the corners to avoid ingrown toenails. If your child develops corns or calluses, have his or her feet inspected by a podiatrist to be sure there are no underlying issues that need to be addressed. In addition, make sure your child eats a healthy diet and gets regular exercise to help maintain a healthy weight as the feet carry the entire weight of the body. Also teach your child to inspect his or her shoes periodically for abnormalities.
Other problems related to walking
If you are sure that your child’s shoes fit properly, but you begin to notice problems such as excessive tripping, the toes pointing in or out, or an unusual manner of walking, be sure to have your child’s feet, ankles, knees, and hips examined. Many abnormalities in walking are related to problems in these joints. A simple orthotic insert or special shoes may be all that are needed to correct these problems, although in some children, more drastic measures may be required, including braces, or in rare cases, surgery.
If you notice any problems with your child’s feet or gait (the way he or she walks), make an appointment at Kansas City Foot Specialists today by calling us at 913-338-4440. By ensuring that your child has healthy feet from the start, you will help your child avoid related problems later in life.