Tips for Caring for Your Child’s Feet

Babies are born with only 22 bones in each foot, but by the age of five, they have 26.

Your baby’s feet are made of soft, flexible cartilage that converts to bone over time. Your baby’s feet can be vulnerable to injury. Here are some tips on caring for your child’s feet.

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Make sure that socks, soft booties and bedclothes allow your baby or toddler’s toes plenty of room to straighten out and move around easily. Choose shoes made from soft leather, with lightweight flexible soles, padded ankles and non-slip bottoms.

Clubfoot is a condition that affects one or two babies in 1,000. The shape of one or both feet bends inwards and downwards. Clubfoot treatment begins soon after birth and usually involves physiotherapy to manipulate your baby’s foot gently back into the right shape. She will also wear a cast and special boots.

Flat feet is something that all babies are born when they first start walking. However, if your child still seems to have flat feet when she’s five years or six years, and is in pain, see a foot and ankle doctor. Gentle inserts to support the arch may be prescribed.

Intoe-ing and outtoe-ing is when toddlers walk with their feet turning inwards or outwards. It usually corrects itself as your child becomes more confident on her feet. Talk to your  foot and ankle doctor if the problem persists beyond toddlerhood, or worsens, especially if it only seems to affect one foot.

Toe walking is when a child walks on her toes without putting much weight on her heels. Persistant toe walking can be a sign of abnormally short achilles tendons, and may need treatment by a foot and ankle doctor.

Ingrown toenails will cause the skin at side of your child’s toenails to appear red or swollen. This is usually caused by her toenails not being cut correctly. Cut your child’s toenails, and her fingernails, straight across, rather than in a curve. Never cut down the side of your child’s toenails or cut them too short

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that causes a red, itchy, moist rash, usually in the area between your child’s toes. It’s rare in babies and toddlers, but it may be more likely to happen if you take your child swimming a lot.  Help to prevent athlete’s foot by dressing your toddler in cotton socks, and drying between her or his toes properly after baths and swimming.

Remember, any type of foot or ankle pain is never normal. A foot and ankle doctor can examine your feet and give you the best course of action.

Please call 626-447-2184 (Arcadia) or 818-408-2800 (San Fernando) to speak to a foot and ankle specialist about your foot and/or ankle needs.

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