Did you know kids can have foot problems similar to what adults have? From the birth, you need to pay special attention to your child’s feet to ensure they have healthy feet that will last a lifetime. At the first sign of any concerns, visit a podiatrist. A podiatrist can provide information and guidance on keeping your child’s feet healthy, as well as treating any injuries or abnormalities.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Megan Leahy, a podiatrist and mother of two. Dr. Leahy was a former Division I collegiate runner and suffered many foot injuries, thanks to her own podiatrist, she was able to return to competition. This also inspired her to become a podiatrist herself to help others. Dr. Leahy has been featured in magazines, including Fitness, Self, and Women’s Health. Today, Dr. Leahy is going to share with us some important tips about keeping kids’ feet healthy and happy.
When should I put my baby in his/her first pair of shoes?
Hold off on baby’s first pair of shoes until she is starting to cruise around furniture. Baby’s first shoe should be soft and flexible with good traction.
As a parent or caregiver, what signs should we look for that could indicate foot problems?
Frequent tripping, limping, toe walking, and in-toeing are all signs of a possible foot problem and warrant a trip to your Podiatrist’s office for assessment.
What are some tips for shoe shopping for children?
Be sure your child is well rested and in a good mood when you go shoe shopping as it can take some time! Everyone’s feet swell during the day, even kids. Thus, shoe shop in the afternoon if possible. Be sure your child is measured professionally while standing and buy for the larger foot as most people’s feet do not measure exactly the same. Bring the stockings or socks your child typically wears for her fitting. A well fitted shoe should be comfortable as soon as it is donned. Do not rely on a “break-in” period.
Is it safe for children to wear flip-flops or sandals in the summer?
Flip-flops should be reserved for protection from the hot sand at the beach and to avoid warts and other infections in pools and locker rooms. Discourage your child from running, playing or doing prolonged walking or standing in flip-flops. A well fitted sandal with arch support and an ankle or heel strap is ok, but not for sports, running, or excessive walking. Some children’s sandals are designed with toe caps to protect their sensitive toes and prevent tripping and these are a great choice.
Are all children’s shoes the same? Are their certain styles to avoid?
As with adult shoes, children’s shoes vary considerably. Try to avoid hand-me-down shoes. For the most part, unless there is an existing foot problem, you are better off selecting a more flexible shoe, particularly for young children. Children’s feet grow very quickly and thus shoes can be expensive. Be sure to invest in one good, well fitted pair.
As a parent, what can we do to keep our children’s feet happy and healthy?
Observe your child’s gait for abnormalities. Tune in if she is having trouble keeping up or complaining about leg fatigue or pain. This could be a sign of a foot level problem. Check your child’s skin and nails for possible infections. Promptly present to a Podiatrist with any foot concerns. Many problems respond better to treatment in the early stages.
Check out this video for more information on children’s foot health and what to look for to identify “silent pain”!
As part of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)‘s First Steps program, they have developed the following infographic with tips on choosing shoes for your children. While shoe shopping, make sure your child’s shoes pass the 1 – 2 – 3 test, as well as look for the APMA Seal of Acceptance.
For more information or to schedule a visit with a podiatrist, visit www.apma.org/firststeps. You can also check out First Steps on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/theapma for even more information related to children’s foot health.
This post was written for social good. No compensation was received. All information and pictures used with permission.
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