Children’s Feet: What You Need to Know at Each Stage
Your baby’s adorable wobbly first steps are just the first of a lifetime of walking—those chubby little feet are going to grow up and carry him or her through a lifetime of ups and downs. It’s not too soon to make sure your children’s feet are ready to go the distance.
There are many reasons you might want to have a podiatrist take a look at your children’s feet at different ages and stages. Some things to consider:
Infancy: Some babies are born with a condition called metatarsus adductus in which the feet bend inward instead of pointing straight. In most cases, the deformity resolves on its own, but it’s best to have a podiatrist take a look—if your baby doesn’t grow out of it your doctor may recommend corrective shoes or casting. In any case, it’s a good idea to take your baby to see a podiatrist at around the first year mark to make sure he or she is ready for those first steps.
Toddlerhood: Once your toddler is standing and walking the cute little baby booties get put away and proper footwear becomes crucial. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can be painful and cause blisters; shoes that don’t give enough support can have long term effects on your child’s posture and gait. In particular good arch support at every stage of childhood will pay lifetime benefits.
Childhood: Flat feet are common in children under 5, but feet that remain flat—the medical term is pronated—into childhood can lead to aches and pains in the feet. Do a periodic foot check: can you feel a curve at the arch? look at the back of the feet—are the heels and Achilles tendon straight? Does your child complain of leg or foot pain? Do you have flat feet yourself? The simplest solution to flat feet is supportive shoes and/or orthotics. Your podiatrist can help you choose.
If your active child begins participating in organized sports, his or her feet are on the front lines even more. Good shoes are crucial at this point, as is a regular warm-up routine. Before starting a sport have any old injuries evaluated, and if they do get hurt make sure they see a doctor right away.
Adolescence: Teenage “growing pains” are real. If your child is complaining about pain in his or her heels, it could be Sever’s disease or calcaneal apophysitis, a condition where tight muscles and tendons become inflamed around the growth plate. The pain will eventually go away on its own as other bones catch up, but in the meantime, a podiatrist can help with a combination of rest, icing, and possibly even a temporary cast.
By adolescence, your child is old enough for some grown-up foot problems, particularly plantar warts and bunions. If your teenager complains of foot pain, take it seriously and make an appointment with your podiatrist.
It’s important that you monitor your child’s foot health at any age to ensure that their feet and ankles are developing properly. To request an appointment with one of the podiatrists at Triad Foot Center, click here or call one of our three convenient office locations in the Piedmont Triad.
Disclaimer: The information and other content provided in our blogs, videos, or in any other content or linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For a full disclaimer, please click here.