The first several years of a child’s life is full of growth and change. Properly caring for their feet is especially important in order to prevent problems when children are older. The following tips can help to ensure healthy development in their feet!
- Babies’ bones are flexible and not fully developed, so it is important to allow freedom of movement in their toes, ankles, and feet. Until they are walking, booties and other shoes are not necessary and may interfere with proper foot development.
- Give your child plenty of opportunities to be barefoot, especially if they are starting to bear weight on their feet. Allowing cruising babies to feel the floor helps to develop toe gripping strength and balance.
- If a child is cruising but not yet walking, do not offer hands to help them. Waiting until they are able to walk on their own guarantees that the necessary strength and balance is developed to support their weight.
- Once a child is walking, buy properly-fitting shoes to further support their development.
- Observe your child’s gait. Some toe-walking or in-toeing in the beginning stages of walking may be normal, but prolonged toe-walking or rotation can be indicative of a problem.
- Do not use hand me downs. Every child’s feet are unique and therefore should be properly fitted for new shoes for each pair.
- Keeping toenails trimmed and feet clean and dry.
If at any stage of development, you notice abnormalities in your child’s walking or your child complains of discomfort or pain, seek professional help from a podiatrist. Podiatrists can help diagnose problems early and recommend treatment if necessary.
At Your Next Step, we take children’s foot health and development very seriously, and have a team of board-certified podiatrists Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen to provide high quality foot and ankle care to all of our patients. Whether you are concerned about your baby’s foot development, or your teenager endures a sports injury, we have the modern technologies and expertise to help! Contact us for an appointment today at our offices in Ardmore, Paoli, or Downingtown, PA!