Caring for Children’s Feet
Children with strong, healthy feet often avoid many kinds of lower extremity problems later in life.
The size and shape of your baby’s feet change quickly during the first year. Because a baby’s feet are flexible, too much pressure or strain can affect the shape. It’s important to allow your baby to kick and stretch his or her feet. Also, make sure shoes and socks don’t squeeze his or her toes.
Try not to force your toddler to walk before he or she is ready. Carefully watch the gait (walking) once walking begins. Many toddlers have a pigeon-toe gait, which is not unusual – most children outgrow the problem.
Remember, kids feet and legs are continually growing and changing alignment, so expect their movement to look different that that of an adult. If you have concerns, make an appointment.
When Foot Care is Needed
The foot’s bone structure is well-formed by the time your child reaches age 7 or 8, but if a growth plate (the area where bone growth begins) is injured, the damaged plate may cause the bone to grow oddly. With proper care, the risk of future bone problems can be reduced. Your child’s feet and lower extremities should be examined now if you have concerns about his or her unusual walking pattern.
Remember to check your child’s shoe size often. Make sure there’s space between the toes and the end of the shoe, and make sure his or her shoes are roomy enough to allow the toes to move freely.
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