Children are special – and so are their feet.
Why? Because they are still growing! And that is why they need special foot care every day and also when anything looks suspicious.
Watch your children’s feet as they grow, step by step:
Baby – Up to 1 Year
- Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM considers this year the most important in the development of your child’s feet. Watch for anything abnormal – most deformities will not correct themselves without professional intervention.
- Let baby’s feet be free! Their feet don’t need any booties or shoes until they begin walking – cover the feet with warm, loose socks only for warmth. Don’t let foot coverings inhibit normal development.
- Your infant’s feet need exercise, even if it’s just having fun while kicking into the air. This will prepare the feet for weight bearing.
Toddler 1-3 Years
- Keep your toddler’s feet bare while indoors so muscle strength can develop normally, along with toe grasping ability.
- Protect the feet outdoors with flexible footwear that is lightweight and made of natural materials.
- Occasional toe-walking is normal but please come see us if your child persists in toe-walking.
- Watch for any signs of pain like limping, or if your child consistently tries to remove one or both shoes, which may mean that it’s time to buy new shoes in a larger size.
Youngsters 4-8 Years
- Always have both feet measured each time you shop for shoes and buy for the largest size.
- Never use hand-me-down shoes. These will have molded to the prior owner’s foot and won’t fit properly.
- Establish good footwear practices early. Avoid letting your child wear flip-flops for extensive periods of time or when very active because they offer little support. However, sandals or flip-flops at the pool and locker room can help avoid bacterial infections.
Pre-Teen 9-12 Years
- Always equip your athlete with the right footwear for each sport to help avoid injury.
- Never let your child play through a sports injury – seek medical help as soon as possible.
- Teach your child the right way to do an at-home pedicure. Trim nails straight across to avoid an ingrown toenail and avoid cutting the cuticles.
- Give your child a voice in the shoes that you buy but always be sure that they are sturdy and comfortable rather than just fashionable. Have them walk in new shoes around the store – they should feel good right away with no “breaking-in” period.