Children’s feet have a unique developmental pattern of their own. It is important to take care of your child’s feet as they will have to last them a lifetime. If they are not properly taking care of a huge variety of problems can occur. Many of these childhood foot problems may not be painful. So it’s important to be aware of what to look out for and have your child’s feet checked if you are concerned. A check-up with your podiatrist is recommended if:
- You notice uneven shoe wear
- Flat feet beyond the age of five years
- Feet turning inwards or out
- Toe walking
- Your child is constantly tripping and falling
- Your child complains of recurrent pain in the feet or legs
- You notice any skin rashes, hard skin, lumps or bumps on the feet
- Bunions or other deformities
- You have any other concerns about your children’s feet
Children and sports
Children are at risk of overuse and growth plate injuries when they are participating in competitive levels of sport. For young athletes, it is imperative that muscle function, flexibility and biomechanical alignment are kept in check. Typically during growth spurts the long bones (i.e. tibia, fibula and femur) will grow exponentially at rates which the muscles can’t maintain optimal length or strength. This will often result in tightness of the muscles and excessive pulling on the bone at the muscle attachment. Orthotics and correct sports footwear often play a significant role in helping to maintain appropriate biomechanical posture during this important growth phase.
Flat feet occur in approximately 20-30 percent of the population. This is a common problem, but with correct treatment issues later on in life are dramatically reduced.
All infants’ feet appear flat as the arch has not yet formed due to weak muscle tone and weak ligaments. There is also a fat deposit in the arch, which can hide the natural curve of the arch area. This fat pad disappears by the age of around 2 years.
To ensure your child’s develops normal foot arches, it is important to make sure the leg muscles are strong. This can only be achieved with exercise. One of the best ways to promote healthy arches is to encourage walking barefoot in sand. It is also important to make sure that as your child’s feet grow that there is sufficient room in their shoes, and that the shoe supports their feet correctly. Poorly fitting shoes can negatively change the shape of your child’s foot. Don’t let your child wear Flip Flops the whole day. They don’t provide sufficient stability and have usually no arch support at all. That’s why it is essential also to wear proper foot wear.