Children stand, walk, run, hop, skip, jump, and more, and in doing so, their feet can take a beating. However, despite the daily stress placed on pediatric feet, most parents are surprised to find that foot or ankle pain that lasts for more than a few days not only isn't normal, but it may also indicate a problem that requires professional treatment—especially if the issue interferes with the child's ability to walk.
Fortunately, regardless of whether your child's dealing with a foot or ankle injury, a common podiatric condition, a developmental abnormality, or inherited foot issues, you've come to the right place for skilled evaluation and treatment.
At A Step Above Foot Care, our exceptional Long Beach podiatrists partner with parents and guardians like you to help make sure that your children's feet are developing properly and receiving the appropriate routine and acute cute. We treat a wide range of podiatric foot issues and offer gentle conservative to advanced treatment options to meet the needs of our young patients and their families.
What You Should Know About Pediatric Foot Development
Did you know that babies' feet aren't fully formed at birth? While an adult foot has 26 bones, babies are born with just 22 bones in each foot. These infant bones are made of soft cartilage that gradually converts to hard bone over time. Though children typically have all 26 bones by age 5, their feet don't reach skeletal maturity until between the ages of 13 and 15 for girls and 15 and 18 for boys.
Because kids' feet grow so rapidly in the first year, it's considered a crucial point in the foot development process. Carefully monitoring your children's feet during this vital period can help you catch—and seek treatment for—abnormalities and other problems in their earliest stages. Here are some tips to help ensure healthy foot development in newborns and infants:
- Carefully examine your baby's feet on a regular basis. If you notice anything unusual, call our office right away to make an appointment
- Avoid dressing your baby in tight socks, which may prevent movement and inhibit normal development
- Vary the positioning of your not-yet-mobile baby's legs throughout the day, as staying in one spot for too long may put excessive strain on the feet and legs
- Change your infant's shoe and sock size every few months when their feet begin to develop to allow sufficient room for growth
- Don't try to force a child to start walking before they're ready. Children start to walk when they're physically and emotionally capable. Avoid comparing your child's walking progress to other children's, as the age range for independent walking varies
Common Pediatric Foot Conditions
Many adult foot ailments originate in childhood and may be present at birth. Children experience a number of common podiatry issues, including:
- Pediatric flat foot
- Ingrown toenails
- Fungal toenails
- Plantar warts
- Splinters, cuts, and other injuries
Kids are also prone to developing Sever's disease, an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel, typically caused by overuse or a growth spurt. During periods of fast growth, the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia pull on the heel bone at its growth center, causing pain and inflammation.
Caring for Pediatric Feet
Follow these routine care tips for healthy feet and toenails:
- Wash feet daily, making sure to thoroughly dry between the toes
- Choose moisture-wicking socks made of synthetic fibers and well-fitting shoes made of breathable materials
- Alternate footwear to allow shoes to air out and dry
- Make sure your child wears child shower shoes in shared facilities and other unsanitary environments
- Perform regular foot inspections, looking for cuts, cracks, or other breaks in the skin that can make feet susceptible to developing plantar warts or fungal infections
- Carefully wash any minor cuts or scrapes
- Call us to schedule an appointment for routine podiatry care or treatment for common pediatric foot conditions
Make an Appointment to See One of Our Trusted Pediatric Foot Care Specialists
Take charge of your children's podiatric health. Call A Step Above Foot Care at (562) 429-5300 to schedule an appointment to have your child's feet evaluated and discuss the many treatment options available at our Long Beach podiatry practice.