Children can suffer from a wide range of foot problems, just like adults. The most important thing to remember is that pain is a worrying symptom, which should guide one towards the doctor. There are a number of solutions one can resort to, in order to take care of the kid’s foot health. As a parent, you need to pay attention to your child and the symptoms he/she is experiencing. In case of pain and inflammation, with limited walking abilities, a foot and ankle surgeon should be consulted as soon as possible.
5 Best Ways to Take Care of Child’s Foot Health
#1 Have your child wear adequate footwear
While many of the shoes designed for children look absolutely beautiful, only few of them are actually ergonomic. The foot structures are growing, being soft and easily subjected to deformations. If you want your kid’s feet to stay healthy, you need to purchase adequate footwear for him/her. What does this mean? In simple terms, we are talking about shoes that fit well, with proper arch support and cushioning.
There are other characteristics to take into account when purchasing a new pair of shoes. These should provide proper ankle support, in order to keep the risk of sprains down to a minimum. Moreover, rubber soles are great, as they prevent the little one from tripping. Well-fitting shoes are especially recommended to those who suffer from flat fleet, as the lack of adequate support can only make matters worse. Do not worry about the price and think long-term, as a good pair of shoes purchased now can ensure that your child will have healthy feet as an adult.
#2 Teach your child to respect hygiene standards
Children learn by example. As a parent, you are responsible for teaching your little ones how to follow hygiene standards. You can start with small things, such as washing one’s feet after each outing. Take time to show him/her how to properly wash the feet, with soap and warm water. Use a clean towel to thoroughly dry the feet and instruct your kid to always put on clean socks. Refrain from using an aggressive tone or shouting, these are not healthy methods to teach your child anything.
As your child goes to kindergarten or school, it is important to teach him/her not to share personal items with other children. If your little one practices a sport, be sure to instruct him/her on showering after each training sessions. Depending on his/her age, you can also provide instructions on changing his/her socks and shoes. In the situation the child is prone to fungal infections, apply a little bit of antifungal powder inside the shoes.
#3 Treat all minor injuries in an adequate manner
Children, especially during the summer, are prone to minor injuries. As they climb, run and play with other children, they might suffer from scrapes, cuts and various other injuries. After each play session, it might be a good idea to inspect the feet and ankles, checking for such injuries. If you notice any injury, you need to treat it immediately.
Begin by disinfecting the wound and applying antiseptic ointment or foot cream. Cover the minor wound with a bandage and instruct your child about changing it on a regular basis. Inspect the injuries frequently and re-apply the antiseptic ointment, so that you keep the risk of infection at a safe distance. In case the respective wound gets infected, antibiotics might be necessary. As a side tip, never give antibiotics to a child without visiting the doctor first. Otherwise, he/she might develop resistance to such medication, with the treatment losing its efficiency in case of more severe infections.
#4 Handle all foot problems early on, with physical therapy
Physical therapy is one of the most efficient weapons against various foot problems in children. For example, if your child suffers from heel pain, physical therapy can be useful in reducing both the frequency and intensity of such symptoms. The physiotherapist can also determine the cause behind such problems, such as plantar fasciitis, calcaneal aphophysitis and Achilles tendonitis. Never ignore symptoms of pain and inflammation in children, as there is no such thing as “growing pains”.
The physiotherapist will evaluate both feet and determine gait abnormalities, balance problems and other potential issues. In some situations, he/she might recommend shoe inserts, orthoses and elastic wraps (corrective devices). If the child has been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, the child will be instructed to follow the R.I.C.E. protocol (rest, ice, compression and elevation). Special orthotic shoes and a specific exercise program will be recommended as well.
#5 Encourage barefoot walking
We live in an age where technology has conquered everything. As a result, children spend less and less time in the open outdoors. While this might not sound like such a big thing, it has led to more health problems, including when it comes to the feet. The arch of the foot is flat in many children, causing gait problems and spine deformation. A great solution to prevent such problems is barefoot walking, outside, on various surfaces.
When the weather is fine outside, take your kid out. Ditch the shoes and let him/her walk barefoot. This will allow for the natural development of the foot, as well as naturally strengthen the tendons. Moreover, by letting the child walk in the grass, on uneven stony terrain or various other surfaces, he/she will get great sensory input. This will cause the brain to develop, having a positive effect on the cognitive function as well.
In conclusion, these are some of the best solutions to consider if you want to keep your child’s feet healthy and strong. As you have seen, it is essential to teach children about respecting hygiene standards and also to have them wear adequate footwear. Physical therapy can be successfully used to correct any deformities, as well as corrective devices and even surgery in some cases. Always teach your kids through the power of example and they will turn into healthy adults, with strong feet.