Good foot care should start young while feet are still growing to achieve healthy feet.
There is a lot you can do to help your child’s feet remain in good condition and to prepare them for standing, walking, running and everything and everything needing for the years ahead.
Kicking and wriggling their feet develop baby’s muscles so do not constantly restrict them in socks, booties, leggings or tight bedding. It is normal for an infant to have cool hands and feet it is therefore suggested to restrict footwear for cold weather or when you are taking your baby out in the cold.
When fitting your baby with footwear regularly check that it is not too tight. Babies grow quickly and article shrunk in the wash. Ankle ties on booties should be loose enough to allow free circulation. Be especially careful of suits with covered-in toes – even if rest of the suit fits, the feet might be too tight. If necessary, cut off the suit’s foot and hem the edges.
Going barefoot is very important for development especially when a child begins to crawl as it strengthens toes ready for walking.
Toddler & Children’s Feet
All babies develop at their own pace so don’t compare your child’s development with other children of the same age. Do not be in a rush to teach your child to walk. They will walk when they are ready. Most children walk between the ages of nine to 18 months. Some are more physically and emotionally ready for their first step well before others. It can be harmful to try to encourage your baby to walk before they are ready.
DON’T use artificial walking aids such as walkers or activity centres, jumpers and swings; they can be detrimental to your child’s walking development and the correct development for academic learning. Feet and legs develop best when a baby learns to walk at their own pace.
If your child has flat feet don’t worry their arches will develop as their baby fat disappears and their feet grow stronger.
Shoes can be worn once your child is walking well before this time going barefoot is very important to develop muscles and balance.
It is very important when choosing shoes that they fit properly right from the beginning. Remember growing feet need room to grow so choose carefully. You need to be aware that poor fitting shoes can lead to foot deformities later.
What to look for:
Shoes should be soft and pliable and fit securely on the feet. Choose a pair with fastenings so that the heel is held in position. The inner edge of the shoe should be as straight as possible, and the toe should be both wide enough and deep enough. There should be no pressure on the little toe, and the heel should fit snugly. Avoid tapered toes.
Sandals need to have secure straps over the instep and behind the ankle to stop the foot slipping forward and damaging the toes. This is where foot problems can start.
Check the size: Children don’t’ always complain when the shoe starts to feel tight therefore it is important to check their shoe size regularly. It is also important to remember that a shoe conforms to the shape of the first feet to wear them. So passing shoes on to the next child in line when the first has grown out of them may not be a good idea. In the end, feet that have been badly treated cost more than a new pair of shoes.
Length: You can check the length by asking your child to stand with each foot on a piece of cardboard. Mart at the back of the heel and the tip of the longest toe. Cut the strip of cardboard to the marked length and about 2 cm wide, insert it inside the shoe and push it towards the toe. If there is 1-2 cm between the end of the cardboard and the heel of the shoe, the shoe is long enough. If the cardboard touches the heel, try a larger size. (This method will only work with round-toed shoes)
Width and depth: Don’t forget to check the width and depth of the toecap as well.
The size of socks is just as important as shoe size as tight socks can also affect developing feet. While a child is growing rapidly both shoes and socks need replacing frequently. When replacing shoes remember to buy new socks as well. Before a child starts school, shoes and sock should be checked for size at least once a month.
Natural fibre such as cotton or woollen socks are the best as they help the foot to breath.
Health & Hygiene
Hygiene is very important for our feet.
Dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
When bathing your child wash their feet with soap and clean water.
Cut toe nails straight across.
Once your child is able to walk well you should reduce carrying them. Take them by the hand instead and teach them more independence. A daily stroll is not only one of the healthiest forms of exercise but is a good habit to start early. It’s god exercise for you, too.
Continue with lots of barefoot play as this helps strengthen growing feet. Make sure the area is safe to avoid cuts and accidents.
When sending a small child to day care or school remember to send a spare pair of socks. Wet pants usually mean wet socks too.
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Disclaimer: Article on our website are for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor to make sure this information is right for your child.