The feet are one of the most important parts of the body. It provides some support to the entire body and is the one responsible for you going to many different places. This is why there is some value to looking after them as early as your childhood years, because some issues that stem from the feet do happen when one is still a child.
There are a number of things to look out for on your children’s feet.
Having proper footwear
A lot of children are outfitted with shoes that are either too big or too small for them. This usually happens with families that have several children. Passed down or hand-me-down shoes are common and are a good way to save money, but we have to make sure that these shoes fit the child perfectly. It’s not a good idea to make children wear shoes that don’t fit them well, because these will cause some problems along the way and could potentially be more expensive when the time comes.
Some parents buy shoes for their children even when it’s two big for them, thinking that they could grow into it anyway. But this doesn’t do the child any good. It’s best to have their feet measured so that they are wearing the right size.
Footwear is crucial because it’s protection for the feet. The general rule is that there should be 1 to 1.5 cm of space between the big toe and the end of the shoe. That way, there is still room for movement but allows the foot to be supported well.
Children can grow really fast. One minute they’re really little and then the next moment you look at them, it feels like they’re half as tall as you are already or more. This is normal and growth spurts do happen, but they can also be painful.
As a child, the entire body is growing and all the parts are trying to keep up with each other so that they all grow equally and at the same time. It just so happens that, since the legs and feet are what supports the body, and because kids tend to move around more and run around, they are the parts that can have some pain during growth.
Watching out for growth spurts can help you anticipate the them having pain on their legs and feet after a long day playing outside or after a school day. It can even happen during the night, while they are in bed. If there is some pain, gentle massages and stretching can help.
Osteochondroses (Growth Plates)
Osteochondroses is a growth plate condition where they become painful, most usual for children involved in sports. More common in ages 2 to 16, it usually happens when they have a lot of activities that involve running and jumping.
The most common is called Sever’s Disease. This involves the growth plate in the heel. Another common one is Osgood’s Schlatter’s, which involves the ones in the knees, Kohler’s, which involves the navicular, Iselin’s, which involves the foot. If they complain of any pain in these areas, these may be the possible causes.
With children moving around so much and running around most of the time, they can end up tripping a lot accidentally and hurting themselves. This is mostly normal, but tripping can be caused by other things. It can be due to muscles that are weaker than normal or flexible joints that are unable to support the body properly.
Having ingrown nails
While this isn’t a usual occurrence in children, it can happen. Having ingrown nails happen due to different reasons. It can be due to trauma to the nail, like dropping something heavy on it or stubbing it. It can also be due to not cutting the nail properly or due to improper footwear. If your child is complaining of having a painful nail or toe, it could be due to this and would be best to have it checked by a professional.
Being pigeon toed (intoeing)
Being pigeon toed is usually related to something happening with the hips, knees and feet. If this occurs, questions that may be asked include the condition of the child when they were in the womb, delivery conditions, as well as their physical development. Treatment would usually have something to do with changes in posture, having some exercises done, and changes in footwear.
When your child walks on their toes
Toe walking is when your child walks only on their toes, their heels not touching the ground. This happens, but if it happens more than usual, it can be caused by something else. It could be due to developmental issues or can be associated with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or autism. One thing to watch out for is if your child complains of pain or tightness in their calf muscles. Stretching, night splints or, for the extreme cases, surgery are some treatments.
Having flat feet
The normal walking pattern of a person would be when the foot rolls in slightly. When a child is learning to walk, their feet could be flatter than adults because at that age, they require the feet to be a bit more flat due to their running and jumping. It helps with shock absorption. They are not always painful and can be resolved as time passes their feet’s joints and structures develop. However, if they do have pain in the arch, ankles, and knees, this might be the cause for that.
Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus. This can occur a lot in children as they aren’t as immune to it as adults are. They can have warts when they go swimming a lot, due to the pool deck continuously being warm and wet.
Taking care of the feet, especially at a young age, is very important. The feet support our body and keep us mobile and these are just the few ways that you can look out for them.
It is better to have your kids checked by a specialist expert in this field. Book an appointment or visit your most trusted clinic like Watsonia Podiatry to know more about your child’s feet.