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How to care for your children's feet

Children seem to move faster than their little feet can take them. Even though there are tremendous benefits to being active, maintaining healthy feet is also essential to your child’s development and overall well-being.

The Early Years

According to the Ontario Society of Chiropodists, it takes approximately 16 years for a child’s foot to be fully developed. During the early years, children typically enjoy being active with an abundance of energy on their feet. Long before a child is walking, there are some things to keep in mind to protect their little feet.

Be careful of tight infant clothing or ‘onesies’ that may restrict their feet and toes from moving freely. Babies have very flexible feet and may even appear to have flat feet, but this is normal up to age 4. Children actually don’t need to wear shoes until they can walk by themselves. When learning to stand and walk, it is important for the muscles in the feet to strengthen naturally without any constrictions.

Choosing Kid Friendly Footwear

Resist the urge to buy the cheapest shoes possible for your child’s rapidly growing feet. Although the price does not necessarily reflect quality, it is still essential to choose your child’s shoes wisely. When shoe shopping, here are a few important TIPS to keep in mind:

Measure children’s feet periodically

Your children’s shoe and sock size will change every couple of months, so measure their feet before purchasing any shoes to avoid potential pain.

Avoid second-hand shoes

Previously worn shoes might seem to fit well, but it may not be suitable for your child in the months ahead. You might be saving money initially, but when your child experiences challenges with their feet you will have to spend more money for another pair of pain-free shoes.

Examine the shoe’s heel, toe and middle

Press on both sides of the heel to make sure it doesn’t collapse. The toe box should be flexible enough to bend with your child’s toes. The shoe should also be rigid enough that you can’t twist it in the middle.

Go shoe shopping with your child

The make and model of shoes will vary in size, so be sure you have your children with you when shopping. This will also give you an opportunity to show your children how to look for appropriate shoes and promote foot health.

Common Foot Conditions in Children

Even with the right shoes, adults are not the only ones that experience foot pain. Children often suffer with various conditions such as warts, ingrown toenails and fungus.

Since children naturally have thinner skin, they are more susceptible to warts. Kids will get little cuts and scrapes from playing which subsequently exposes them to the wart virus. Children can inherit ingrown toenails or develop it from improper fitting shoes or poor nail trimming. Fungus is also common in kids since their feet are sweaty and moist which is a perfect breeding ground for