There’s nothing quite like the adorable, tiny, tender feet of babies. It’s hard to believe how much they grow within their first few years of life! In order to support the healthy growth and development of their feet, it’s important to care for them properly and see a podiatrist if you have any concerns. Here are some foot care tips you should know to prevent common pediatric foot problems!
Allow freedom of movement
Did you know that when babies are born their bones are flexible? It’s why we recommend keeping their feet barefoot without constricting footwear to allow freedom of movement. Allowing their toes and feet to move about freely can support proper foot development, especially as they start to stand, cruise, and walk. Plus, who doesn’t want to see their tiny baby toes?
Don’t rush shoes
We know, the urge to buy tiny baby shoes is strong! But, until they are on their feet, young babies do not need hard-soled shoes or footwear. Giving them plenty of opportunities to be barefoot is actually a great way for them to develop the balance and grip they need to achieve the foot strength necessary to walk. Once a baby is standing and walking, it is important to buy properly-fitting, comfortable shoes. Judge a shoe by support, flexibility, and ease of taking them on and off instead of by looks alone. It is also important to avoid hand me down shoes, as every child has a unique foot shape that can impact the shape and feel of footwear.
Don’t rush walking
As tempting as it is to pull babies up to their feet and encourage early walking, their feet must develop the proper strength to support their own weight. Allowing your baby to take their time to gradually develop the coordination and strength to pull up to stand, cruise, and eventually walk is best for their foot development.
Observe their gait
When babies are first learning to walk, it is not uncommon to see them walking on their toes (called toe-walking). However, if you notice persistent toe-walking or in-toeing (when they walk with their toes rotated inwards), it is important to consult with a pediatric podiatrist to ensure there are no abnormalities that need to be addressed.
Keep them clean
Their tiny size can make it challenging, but be sure to keep their feet clean and dry, and their toenails trimmed. Always cut or file them straight across to ensure proper nail growth.
If at any point in development, you notice abnormalities in your child’s feet, seek help from a pediatric podiatrist. Diagnosing potential problems early will benefit your child’s development and decrease the chances of more problems down the line. At Kentucky/Indiana Foot and Ankle Specialists, we provide expert foot care from the smallest and youngest of patients to senior citizens. Our team of dedicated foot doctors specialize in treating pediatric foot and ankle conditions to support healthy growing feet! Contact us at any of our locations in Louisville, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, KY and New Albany, IN to schedule an appointment today!