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Footcare for Babies & Children

The foot's bone structure is pretty well formed by the time your child reaches age 7 or 8. But if a growth plate (the area where bone growth begins) is injured, the damaged plate may cause the bone to grow oddly. With a doctor's care, however, the risk of future bone problems is reduced.

When to Call the Doctor

If an injury is mild, your child probably will not remember it for very long. But if your child keeps complaining of pain, have the injury checked by a doctor. Also, call the doctor anytime an injury causes serious swelling, localized tenderness, limping, or ongoing night pains.

Treating an Injury

If a bone or growth plate is damaged, your child may need to use crutches to take weight off the injury as it heals. In the case of fracture, a cast, splint, or brace may be needed to hold the bone in place during healing.

Your Toddler's Feet

When Foot Care Is Needed

During a foot exam, the doctor will watch your toddler walk. If a gait problem exists, the doctor works to identify its cause.

  • To help with flat feet, special shoes or orthoses (custom-made shoe inserts) may be prescribed.
  • To correct mild toeing-in, your toddler may need to sit in a different position while playing or watching TV.
  • If your child's feet turn in or out a lot, corrective shoes, splints, or night braces may be prescribed. Wearing these devices can help the foot as it grows.

Your Baby's Feet

Both the size and shape of your child's feet change quickly during the first year of life. Because a baby's feet are flexible, too much pressure or strain can affect the shape of the foot. To help ensure normal growth, allow your baby to kick and stretch his or her feet. Also, make sure shoes and socks don't squeeze toes.

Possible Foot Care

Talk with the doctor if you are concerned about your baby's feet. Many infants have feet that appear to turn in. This may worry you, but it is rarely a problem. The shape of the foot changes as your child grows.

Your child's doctor may suggest a gentle stretching exercise to aid proper development. You may be told to place one hand on the heel and the other near the big toe. Gently push the big toe toward the little ones, reversing the foot's curve.

Why Your Child's Footcare is Important

Having strong, healthy feet allows your child to walk, run, and play. If your child's feet form correctly, certain types of back and leg pain can be avoided later in life. Exams of the feet and ankles ensure that your child's bones are growing correctly. Your doctor can also make sure that your child is walking right. This helps prevent some future foot problems. And if a problem does arise, it can be handled early when it is easiest to treat.

kids feet