Parents can help their children’s feet to develop correctly by following simple precautions.
- Parents can encourage baby to flex and stretch his feet by tickling toes every time they change baby’s diaper.
- When baby learns to stand and walk you should let him spend time without shoes every day so he can exercise the muscles and tendons in his feet; let your baby wear shoes only when you go outdoors.
- When you put baby to bed make sure he can kick freely.
- Children’s feet grow very quickly so make sure socks are not tight since this might restrict circulation; shoes and boots should not pinch and there should be plenty of room in the toe area, so your little one can grow.
Children who have flat feet should wear special shoes or use orthopaedic arch supports from a very early age.
80% of children have flat feet up to the age of 3 for the following reasons:
- children’s feet have a fatty layer that tends to fill recess of the arch.
- the ligaments that hold together the bones of the footare very long (which tends to flatten the foot arch).
- muscles have not yet fully developed.
From 3 to 6 years of age only 50% of children will have flat feet and a mere 15% of adolescents.
For many years flat feet were treated with special shoes and arch supports. In recent years the recommendation is to let children wear normal high-quality shoes, above all shoes with sand-effect soles that ensure proprioceptive stimulation and the proper development of the muscular part of the foot.
Surgery to correct flat feet should be considered only if your child finds it painful to walk.
A good orthopaedist specialist will advise parents on how to deal with foot problems or musculoskeletal disorders.
Children are not small adults. Often they don’t know how to explain their symptoms, or find it difficult to answer questions the doctor may ask or simply don’t want to collaborate or go to the doctor. A child orthopaedist specialises in disorders that may occur during childhood and uses diagnostic tools specially designed for children. A child orthopaedist will also know how to help your child relax so that he cooperates during the examination.
The waiting room and doctor’s surgery should have a friendly interior for children, with toys and books to prepare the child for the examination.
If your paediatrician refers you to an orthopaedic specialist, you should ensure that the specialist you choose is experienced in treating children’s orthopaedic disorders. .
Parents should be aware of the most important aspects to consider when buying shoes.
Shoes are very important for the healthy development of feet, legs, posture and correct motor development.
The right shoes for growing feet should have the following characteristics:
- uppers must be soft to allow toes to move freely without pinching or squeezing.
- soles should be flexible to allow the natural movement of the foot when running and walking
- heel pads are recommended to give greater stability and make children who are learning to walk to feel more confident and secure.
- remember that children’s feet grow very quickly and increase an average of 2 to 3 sizes a year (oneshoe size corresponds to about 6.6 mm). This means that every 3 months you should measure your child’s feet with a foot measure to see if the shoes your child is wearing still fit or if you need to buy new shoes.