Any parent knows how quickly children grow and develop. Before you know it they’re on to the next stage of their lives. Your child’s feet are an important part of them. They will carry them throughout their entire lives, so it’s very important to take good care of them in the early stages. It’s up to you to teach them good habits and to make sure everything is developing as it should be.
We don’t want to think there might be something wrong with our children, especially so early on in their lives. However, it’s important to be aware of what’s going on if there does appear to be a problem. Sometimes what we think is a serious issue isn’t something to be too concerned about, and may even spontaneously fix itself in the future. Some common ailments we see in children include:
- Flatfeet: This isn’t really an ailment because all children are born without arches. It only becomes a cause for concern when the arches don’t develop in early childhood. Even then it’s not really a problem unless it remains rigid or pain and discomfort are also associated. Children with flat feet are able to walk, run, and be just as active as children with normal arches. If discomfort occurs sometimes, an arch support will help resolve things.
- In-Toeing: Also known as being “pigeon toed”, in-toeing is an issue that is apparent as soon as the child starts walking. There are a few different causes behind why the legs and feet line up abnormally. In most cases treatment isn’t even needed because the abnormal gait will resolve on its own.
- Toe Walking: This is a normal process for toddlers who are just learning to walk and who are beginning to form their arches. It’s when it carries on further into early childhood that it becomes a cause for concern. Toe walking can sometimes be an indicator of a deeper problem such as cerebral palsy or autism. If it lingers past age 4 or 5 it might be recommended to cast and passively stretch the legs.
- Overlapping Toes: Sometimes children are born with a toe that overlaps the one next to it (usually the smallest toe). This is known as clinodactyly and it’s thought to be the result of genetics and/or womb placement. It’s usually not a big enough cause for concern to warrant surgery, but in some cases amputation may become necessary.
Good Hygiene Practices
It’s important to start your children off with good foot care habits, which hopefully they will carry throughout their lives. Teach them to keep their feet clean and dry. It’s a good idea to wash your feet every day to get the grime and bacteria off from the day’s activities. When they get old enough, showing them how to wash in between their toes during bath time is a fun way to get them to do it themselves.
If they do happen to cut or injure their feet in any way it’s always important to wash the wound thoroughly and keep it covered with a bandage. If your child is old enough to handle clippers on their own you can show them on your own feet how to properly trim their nails. Use discretion with this and continue to help them until they are age appropriate. Also remember how important footwear is. Taking them to shop for new shoes can help foster a sense of responsibility.
Getting Medical Help
If you have more questions about taking care of your children’s feet please give Dr. Peyman Elison and Dr. Viedra Elison a call at (623) 584-5556 to schedule an appointment with us at Fixing Feet Institute in Surprise, AZ.