While it might not be something you think about often (or at all), the health of your child’s feet is important. Your child is growing by leaps and bounds and certain habits and other factors can affect how your child’s feet develop or if they experience injuries or other problems down the road. Unfortunately, a lot of children end up wearing shoes that are far too small for their feet, which can lead to pain, structural imbalances and certain foot deformities.
We know that going shoe shopping is certainly not a walk in the park for most parents; however, it’s an important component to making sure your child maintains healthy feet. There are many things to think about when it comes to picking the right shoes, and your podiatrist can also provide suggestions and tips to make the world of shoe shopping easier for you and your little one.
Some factors that you should consider when shopping for the right shoes include:
- Your child’s age
- The shoe’s material
- Your child’s shoe size
- The shoe’s structure
A good rule of thumb is to shop for shoes every 2 months when your child is between the ages of 1 and 2 years old. Once they reach three and four, you’ll want to purchase new shoes approximately every four months. At the point that your child is five or six years old, every six months is a good time to swap out old shoes for new ones.
As you might already know, the bones of a baby or infant’s feet are soft and haven’t fully developed. To protect your child’s feet it’s important that they wear socks and soft shoes. Make sure that as your child’s feet grow that the toes have room to wiggle and move around within the shoes. Bunched-up toes are a major no-no!
Since your little one is growing by leaps and bounds it is important that you are constantly checking their shoe size for changes. Remember that feet swell throughout the day, so shoe shopping should be done at the end of the day when feet are at their largest. If you aren’t sure what size shoe your little one wears, you can ask one of the store’s footwear specialists for help.
Of course, you can’t forget the importance of choosing the right socks, as well. Socks can prevent your little one from blisters, calluses and other foot problems. They can also wick away sweat and prevent fungal infections. When it comes to choosing the right socks for your little one consider the type of fabric, your child’s activity level, the size of your child’s feet and sensitivities they might have to certain fabrics.
When in doubt, you should talk to a foot doctor who can provide you with advice, answer any questions you might have about your child’s developing feet and also provide comprehensive care, when needed.
What is a Bunion?
What Causes Bunions?
How a Podiatrist Can Help
Prevention is Key
Whether you suffer from chronic heel pain, are embarrassed by toenail fungus or were recently diagnosed with diabetes, you can benefit from visiting a professional podiatrist.
Podiatrists provide medical and surgical care for people suffering foot, ankle and lower leg problems such as corns, warts, bunions and sprains. Conditions which damage the feet, such as arthritis, diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, can also be diagnosed and treated by a podiatrist. Even back pain can be traced to your feet and relieved through proper evaluation and treatment by a skilled foot specialist.
Not all foot and ankle problems warrant an appointment with a podiatrist. In some cases, rest, ice or even a change in footwear is enough to reduce the pain and get you back on your feet. But when foot pain and discomfort cannot be resolved by home treatment, you need a professional’s care—someone who specializes in foot-related injuries and disorders.
When to Call Our Office
Feet are invariably the most ignored parts of the body. Too many people dismiss foot health until there is a serious, painful problem. Whenever a foot or ankle problem lasts for several days, contact your podiatrist. Other signs that indicate a worsening condition and warrant medical attention include:
- Foot discoloration
- Pain and swelling in one foot
- A foot sore or wound that doesn’t heal
How often you should visit a podiatrist depends on the individual. Regular appointments can help you better understand the stresses and strains put on your feet and lower legs on a daily basis. Long-term care and prevention are also extremely important for individuals with diabetes, as podiatrists help prevent ulcerations and loss of limb with early diagnosis and care.
Remember, foot pain should never be taken lightly. Always consult your podiatrist for a proper diagnosis of foot disorders.
Plantar warts are benign growths that develop on the bottom of your feet, and are caused by direct contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV). This is the same virus that causes warts on other areas of the body. Some people are more susceptible than others to HPV, and not everyone will develop plantar warts if they come into contact with the virus. Individuals with weak immune systems or damaged skin on the feet are at a higher risk for plantar warts.
Plantar warts most often develop on the weight-bearing areas of the foot - the heel or the ball of the foot - causing sharp, burning pain. They can appear as a single wart (solitary) or a cluster of warts (mosaic). Common symptoms may include:
- Pain or discomfort when walking or standing
- Thick, scaly skin that often resembles a callus
- Hard, flat growths with well-defined boundaries
- Tiny black specks (clotted blood vessels) that often appear on the surface of the wart
Most warts disappear with home care and do not require medical treatment. You can take steps to prevent and treat plantar warts, which include:
- Changing your shoes and socks daily
- Keeping your feet clean and dry
- Avoid picking at warts as the virus may spread
- Avoid direct contact with an individual who has plantar warts
- Checking your child's feet periodically
- Refrain from walking barefoot, especially in public areas like showers, swimming pools and locker rooms
- Never ignore skin growths or changes in your skin
You should always seek care from a podiatrist when warts interfere with your daily life, aren't responding to home treatments, or if you have circulatory disorders. Contact us if your warts:
- Change color or shape
- Cause unbearable pain and discomfort
- Interfere with activities
- Multiply or reappear
Without treatment, plantar warts can grow, spread and prompt new warts to grow as fast as the old ones disappear. If you can't confidently identify a growth on your foot, visit your podiatrist to ensure a correct diagnosis. Early diagnosis and treatment can decrease the risk of the wart spreading and multiplying.
The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body, located in the back of the lower leg and connecting the heel bone to the calf muscle. This tendon is crucial as it facilitates walking and running by helping to raise the heel off of the ground. While the tendon can withstand immense force, it’s also surprisingly vulnerable. Injuries to the Achilles tendon require prompt treatment.
When the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed from excessive use, tendinitis can weaken it over time and cause small tears. Athletes are at a high risk for Achilles tendon injuries, which often occur at the start of a new exercise or training program, or due to not having enough rest or recovery time.
You don’t have to be an accomplished athlete to suffer an Achilles tendon injury. People with flat feet, arthritis and other foot problems are also more susceptible to develop Achilles tendinitis due to increased demands placed on the tendon when walking.
Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
- Mild pain after running or exercising that intensifies gradually
- Localized pain along the tendon, especially after running
- Tenderness near the heel bone, with pain being worse first thing in the morning
- Stiffness and limited range of motion in the lower leg and ankle
- Swelling around the tendon
- When the disorder progresses to degeneration, the tendon may become enlarged and develop nodules in the area where the tissue is damaged
To prevent injuries to the Achilles tendon, strengthening and stretching the calf muscles through daily exercise is recommended. Alternating intense exercise with low-impact workouts and wearing proper shoes for your foot type and activity can also help reduce your risk for injury.
Any time you experience pain, tenderness or swelling along the Achilles tendon, visit us for professional diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for an injured Achilles tendon should begin right away with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Without prompt care, Achilles tendinitis will get progressively worse, thus increasing the risk for further deterioration and rupture. As a last resort, surgery may be recommended to repair the tendon.
Our office can provide the best diagnosis and treatment, for optimal recovery. If you suspect Achilles tendinitis is holding you back, call us today to schedule an appointment, and get on the road to walking with ease again.
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