Would you like to help ensure that your child's feet remain healthy throughout the coming years? Clinton and Waldorf, MD, podiatrists Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer share a few foot care tips just for kids.
Skip the shoes until your child walks
Cute shoes can definitely make an outfit, but your baby is better off without shoes, even soft ones, until he or she begins to stand and walk. Shoes restrict your child's ability to move his or her feet and may even interfere with normal foot development if they're too tight.
Learning to walk barefoot offers some important benefits. When a toddler isn't wearing shoes, it's easier to feel the floor, which may help improve balance. Going barefoot at this stage may also help your little one develop stronger arches.
Choose footwear wisely
When you buy shoes for your children, consider these three factors:
- Wiggle Room: Although allowing a little room to grow may seem like a good idea, can be difficult to walk in too-big shoes. Struggling to walk in the shoes may actually harm muscle development in the feet.
- Flexibility: Look for shoes that bend to accommodate the natural movement of your child's feet when they walk, run and jump. The soles of the shoes should flex in the heels and in the mid-section of the shoes.
- Arch Support: Flip flops, boots and other stylish shoes are available in the smallest sizes, but that doesn't mean that they're a good idea for your child's feet. Wearing flip flops, in particular, can cause foot, ankle or knee pain because the sandals don't adequately support the feet or control foot motion.
Replace shoes often
During growth spurts, you may need to replace your child's feet every two or three months. When you shop for shoes in Clinton or Waldorf, ask the salesperson to measure your child's feet to ensure that you select the correct size. Pay more attention to the way your child says the shoes feel than the size noted on the outside. Because fit may vary by manufacturer, your child may actually need to go up or down a size depending on the brand.
Proper care is the key to protecting your child's feet. If you're concerned that your child may have a foot problem that affects balance or walking ability, schedule an appointment with podiatrists Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer by calling (301) 868-3899 for the Clinton, MD, office or (301) 843-9581 for the Waldorf office.