Jul 15, 2014

Healthy Children's Feet

The summer holidays are nearly here with hot sunny days, holidays and swimming to look forward to.   It is very important to check your child’s feet year-round but the summer months, in particular, can cause foot problems that may also affect their overall health and development.  Common problems include poorly fitted or incorrect shoes and the increased risks of blisters and verrucae.

Read more below:

Children often complain of aches and pains, this is usually due to growth spurts and changes as their bodies develop. Sometimes problems occur due to overuse such as long days playing football, running, cycling and generally just doing ‘kids stuff’. This is why it is important to check your child’s foot to understand what is ‘normal’ for them – check for unusual wear on the shoes, hard skin, ingrown toenails, verrucae, blistering and swelling. Keep an eye on foot growth to check that their shoes are not too small and also that they are wearing the right type of shoes for sports and other activities.

Top tips for healthy young feet:

1. Wash your child’s feet in soap and water and dry thoroughly, especially in between their toes where irritation can occur – you could use some talcum powder sparingly and rub this well into their skin, especially between their toes.
2. Children often have sweaty feet but smelly feet may mean poor hygiene – follow the above advice and try to avoid synthetic materials/fibres in their socks and shoes.
3. Before you buy new shoes take your child to be measured by a trained shoe fitter to ensure they are wearing the right size (length, width and depth) of shoe.
4. A rule of thumb for checking that the length of their shoes are correct is to ensure that you can fit the knuckle (15mm) of your index finger between the heel of the foot and the back of the shoe, with the toes pushed to the front of the shoe.
5. You can also get your child to stand on some plain paper and mark the back of the heel and the tip of the longest toe, and measure this in your child’s shoe for correct length.
6. Check for excessive wear on their shoes, especially the outsole, as this may show that the alignment of their legs or feet isn’t quite right (bear in mind kids love to skid and use shoes to break on bikes and scooters!)
7. If possible, try to alternate shoes so that they do not wear the same pair every day.
8. Watch out for patches of hard skin, itchiness, blistering, verrucae or ingrown toenails, and if you find any problems go to see an HCPC registered Podiatrist or your GP.
9. Check their toenails regularly, make sure they do not pick at them, and avoid cutting them too short or into the corners of their toenails.
10. When outside make sure your children do not go barefoot to avoid risks of injury or infection.
11. Sandals with decent cushioning, support and fastening are ideal for the summer and a great alternative to flip-flops!

Teaching your child good habits now, will encourage them to keep these up in the future. Have a happy, healthy summer!

Article by Ganesh Baliah
BSc (Hons) Pg Dip MChS HCPC
Musculoskeletal Specialist Podiatrist at St Judes Clinic
26 Lake Street
Leighton Buzzard LU7 1RX
01525 377751