This month Anderson Podiatry Center is providing some great insight on pediatric podiatry and what parents should know about feet. They’re the only full-service foot care center in the tri-state area of Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming.
Dr. Jared Overman, DPM was kind enough to answer some questions and provide some tips for the GUFC community:
Why do parents bring a child to a podiatrist?
Parents usually bring a child into a podiatrist for one of two main reasons. First is pain or injuries and the second reason is that the parent feels that their child “walks funny.”
Anytime a child is experiencing pain in their feet or is having difficulty walking it should be evaluated by an experienced professional. Most pediatrician and urgent care doctors will have some knowledge and experience.
Issues other than obvious fractures and sprains may be missed by someone not accustomed to the unique and constantly changing anatomy of a child’s feet. The vast majority of issues can be treated conservatively, however more severe problems with flat feet or other misalignments may require surgical correction in some cases.
What should parents keep their eyes out for?
Some kids may not always complain of pain and instead try to hide it. If you notice that your child no longer wants to participate in activities that they used to enjoy it may be a sign of this.
Example: If your child normally likes to run around with their siblings or play tag with the neighborhood kids and then you notice that the child now prefers to watch instead of play.
This may be a sign.
“I recommend that parents be alert for any signs of pain or instability,” Dr. Jared Overman, DPM.
Your kiddo maybe having pain or difficulty running or walking. Another potential sign is if your child seems especially clumsy while walking or running. This may be normal, but if your kiddo’s coordination does not improve over time or if it seems to get worse it may be a good idea to have that child properly evaluated.
The doctor says to also keep an eye out for is if your child’s feet seem to be aligned in an unusual way.
What are your thoughts on babies in shoes?
For pre-walker infants, shoes are not needed and in some cases may be harmful. A child’s foot bones are not fully developed until around age 5 so you always want to avoid anything that restricts the feet in any way.
“If you want to put a cute pair of shoes on the child for a special event go ahead and do it, but make sure the shoes are flexible and fit properly,” Dr. Jared Overman, DPM.
The American Academy of Pediatrics follows this same guideline and recommends flexible shoes with non-skid soles for children learning to walk. For crawlers, shoes are simply not needed and socks with non-skid soles or bare feet are fine.
Top Four Health Guide For Kid’s Feet
Dr. Overman’s general recommendations for parents include:
A child’s shoe should fit right.
A child’s shoes should be properly fit and should be untied to remove and tied when put back on. This is so the shoe gives the maximum support.
Barefoot is okay some of the time.
Going barefoot is fine in nice weather but is not recommended in a public environment where hidden nails, glass, or other sharp objects may be lurking.
Flip-Flops are a no-no.
Flip-flops are not a good choice of shoe in any situation with the possible exception of the beach or pool.
Stinky feet are a cause for concern.
If your child has noticeable foot odor this may be because of a bacterial infection that may require treatment.
To learn more about the Anderson Podiatry Center, check out the center’s blog.