Starting at birth, you need to pay close attention to your child's feet from proper grooming to their gait. This will provide for a solid foundation as your little one grows. The foot is one of the most complicated parts of the body. It has 26 bones, an intricate system of ligaments, muscles, blood vessels and nerves. A young child's feet are very pliable and any abnormal body force can cause deformities. Your child's feet grow very rapidly during their first year. This is the most critical developmental stage for the foot.
To help with normal development you should:
Carefully check your baby's feet. If you should notice anything that looks out of the normal, contact Dr. Vail's office to schedule an appointment. Most deformities cannot correct themselves if they are not treated.
Don't restricted your baby's feet. Shoes and booties are not necessary for infants. They can actually restrict their movement and can inhibit the toes and feet from normal development.
Give your baby the opportunity to exercise their feet. Lie your baby uncovered so they are able to kick and perform other related motions which prepare the feet for weight bearing.
Change your baby's position several times during the day. If they lie too long in one spot it can put an excessive strain on the feet and legs. Also, make sure you limit the time your baby spends in a standing activity center. It is recommended no more than 15 minutes at a time.
When your baby is ready to walk
You should never force your child to walk. Your child will walk when they are physically and mentally ready. Never compare your child with other children when it comes to walking milestones. Each child is different and can start walking anywhere between 10 to 18 months of age. When your baby does start to walk, you do no need to place them in shoes when indoors. Walking barefoot allows the foot to grow normally and to develop its musculature and strength and well as the grasping action of the toes. When your child is walking outdoors, make sure their feet is protected in a natural made lightweight and flexible footwear.
Warning signs when your child starts walking
Once your child is on the move, pay attention to their walking pattern or gait. It's not uncommon for little ones to walk on their tip toes, but persistently doing so is. Dr. Vail will be able to examine your child to make the proper diagnosis and determine the best treatment options. Children with a family history of foot problems should see a podiatrist once they start walking to ensure the feet are developing normally.
Other common childhood walking irregularities are in-toeing and Metatarsus Aductus. With in-toeing, one or both of the feet point toward each other due to a rotation in the foot, leg, thigh, or hip. Excessive tripping, like with many walking irregularities, can reveal a more serious condition such as in-toeing. Some ways to combat in-toeing at home include having your child stand with their heels touching and feet pointing outward and sitting with their legs crisscrossed. Metatarsus Adductus is a bending of the foot inward at the instep resembling the letter "C". This is prevalent in early walkers. Tripping is also a warning sign of Metatarsus Adductus. The Arch Angels Childrens Insoles will be able to help in maintaining your child feet in a neutral position along with stabilizing the feet and ankles. Your podiatrist can also diagnosis and treat Metatarsus Adductus with serial casting and in more severe cases, surgery.
Since most children aren't quick to tell their parents when they are experiencing foot pain and discomfort, you should pay attention to the unspoken signs such as limping, tripping, taking one or both shoes off frequently or unevenly worn footwear. Your young child's feet may be unstable which can make walking difficult or even uncomfortable. A thorough examination by a podiatrist may detect an underlying defect or condition which may require immediate treatment.
If you have any questions regarding your child's foot care, please contact us at 419-423-1888 or log onto our website at http://www.vailfoot.com/ .