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Child's Feet
Health

How to avoid foot problems in children

By No author
05/12/2017

As children get closer to adolescence, their feet can often be neglected. Parents often find it difficult to know whether signs or symptoms affecting their feet are temporary or could raise more serious issues.

Badly cut toenails or ill-fitting shoes do not seem that dramatic, but the damage caused can be quite considerable.

FROM 0 TO 4 YEARS OLD

Parents should be vigilant as soon as child begins to walk to ensure that any clearly identified pathology or congenital deviation of the foot does not develop.

Cutting nails:
In toddlers, they are naturally soft and so tend to grow irregularly. Before cutting, disinfect the scissors or nail clippers to prevent infection. Cut only the part of the nail that protrudes, never too short, and round the sides with a file to prevent ingrowing toenails.

Choosing the first pair of shoes:

There is no need to rush as soon as your child starts to stand up. The right moment is when your child begins to take a few steps by himself. One should then take particular attention to the choice of "first step" shoes for the child.

Determining the right size

Hesitating between two sizes? Opt for the bigger one. The toes must be touching the top of the shoes, otherwise they pull back once the shoes are on, which the little ones do by reflex anyway. A child is not able to feel if his shoes are too small, or too tight when lacing. Shoes that are too small induce an imbalance. If you notice that your child begins to fall more than usual, there is a good chance that the shoes is wearing are starting to be too small.

Choosing the right type of shoes

Contrary to what is recommended, avoid shoes with reinforced arches. Until the age of 4 years old, children's feet are physiologically flat. Growing up, the plantar muscles work and the arch of the foot raises naturally. Shoes with arch reinforcement will prevent it from developing properly. In the long term, a non-physiological flat feet phenomenon may appear.

The heel counter of shoes must be reinforced at the level of the Achilles tendon insertion. For little girls, we avoid ballerina shoes that do not hold their feet properly. Finally, whatever the age of the child, it is recommended to get full leather footwear to let the feet breathe.

At home

Walking without shoes makes the muscles of the medial arch of the foot work. In little ones, slippers are replaced by non-slip socks to prevent falls.

FROM 4 YEARS OLD, YOU SHOW YOUR FEET

A podiatry consultation can detect an eventual deviation of the feet, ankles, knees (genu valgum, or deviation of the knees inward), femurs or the overall posture. This allows especially to check if the foot has developed well during the learning to walk stage. In event of possible disorders it is easier at this age to stimulate the muscles and to work on all of child’s posture. Sometimes custom-made insoles combined with exercises and regular checks are very effective. Unfortunately, the more children grow up with certain disorders the more difficult it is to improve an anomaly. In some cases, surgery might be necessary.

DURING THE TEENAGE YEARS

The main problem?

the shoes! Trainers that are worn almost daily may be comfortable, but are not really adapted to their physiology. Most trainers have a synthetic lining that can increase perspiration. Excessive sweating and dampness promote bacterial growth resulting in bad smells, fungal infections and ingrown toenails.

Avoid wool or synthetic socks at all cost and prefer 100% cotton. If your teen only wears trainers, add a leather insole. To avoid a sprained ankle: it is imperative to make them lace their trainers, and not just put their laces into their shoes.

The heels?

Wearing heels before the end of growth can have irreversible effects, such as shrinkage of the Achilles tendon. At this age, heels of between 2.5 to 4 centimeters in height are acceptable for teenage girls.

 

Some foot problems in children are resolved with growth and time, but if your child presents these signs:

• Pain, swelling and redness that do not go away from the foot or toe

• Development of calluses in a foot area

• Problems of gait and general posture

• Tibias or femurs, feet and ankles that seem to turn inward

• Ankles that are weak or easily twisted

• Falls that become common during walking

Taking care of your child's feet also means taking care of his health in general.

 

Your child may need medical advice.Where do I find and book a specialist?

If you are a French expat residing in London, Findoc.co.uk provides you with a range of French speaking GPs, pediatricians or podiatrists to suit your needs, including by location and speciality. Furthermore, it provides commentary and rating sections so you can access other people’s opinions to help you in your vetting process.  For example, you can search for the speciality you need - e.g. –general practitioners and it will show you the French speaking general practitioners available, together with their professional details, addresses, phone numbers, booking methods and ratings. Findoc.co.uk is free, 100% secure to book online 24/7.

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