If children fall frequently, if they walk on tiptoes, if they touch their feet a lot, if they wear out their shoes or if they lean their feet inwards are some signs to go to the podiatrist’s consultation.
The health of the feet should not be overlooked and in the case of children less so. Any abnormality can lead to future diseases, such as back pain, leg pain or even affect the maturation of the gait.
Pay attention to these warning signs
The Official Association of Podiatrists of the Valencian Community (ICOPV) wanted to make visible the five signs of attention on the feet of the little ones. Maite Garcíavice-president of the organization elaborates on these factors:
- Frequent falls. The main warning sign for parents is that children fall repeatedly from the age of two (that is, once they walk on their own). The expert points out that falls can be due to factors such as lack of vision, coordination or the footwear itself. Here is the importance of going to consultation: to discern the reason and try to stop it.
- Walk on tiptoe. In these cases it is essential to assess whether or not it is a neurological problem. This frequent “vice”, points out García, can cause a shortening of the Achilles heel, which is why it is necessary to explore the origin and remedy it.
- Touch your feet a lot. Children do not communicate as clearly and concisely as adults can. It could be because the nail is stuck, because it sweats a lot (hyperhidrosis), because it itches (due to a possible infection), because the shoe is too small or it’s uncomfortable…
- Shoe wear. If the shoes last less than two months, it is essential to see an expert. And when the wear of the shoes is excessive and, above all, lateralized, it means that the foot is not supported correctly, so an expert must assess the problem.
- Let him walk with his feet far inward. Again it’s a matter of support. Going to a specialist to study the child’s footprint is essential in this regard.
Children’s feet: common concerns
One thing that is strongly pointed out is the need to monitor children from an early age. The vice-president of the ICOPCV indicates:
“From the age of three or four, as with other health specialties, we recommend a first check-up with a podiatrist to assess the development of their lower limbs.”
With this first review, the doubts that usually raise certain children’s behaviors, such as walking on tiptoes, would be dispelled.
Another of the concerns that are presented more frequently in consultation is the fact that children have the excessively flat feet: many parents notice that their children do not have a bridge, but it is not something that is important, as long as the child’s footprint is harmonious and natural.
It is clear that the podiatrist must make an assessment on the basis of the entire locomotor system of the patient, in this case the child.
Recommendations for choosing children’s shoes
The perfect shoe does not exist: recommending an option that perfectly fits everyone’s needs is impossible. Thus, the vice-president of the ICOPCV clarifies that any type of advice as mere guidance, a generality that should not be applied in all cases.
The characteristics of children’s footwear will depend on the age and of the physical activity that the children do, in addition to the physiological conditions of each one.
The main goal of the shoe will be to allow the appropriate physical and motor development of the individual and, for this reason, it will have to be reviewed every 6 months due to the rapid growth of children.
As a general rule, the characteristics we should look for in children’s footwear are:
- Be flexible. Although it will depend on each child. And it is that, in the case of poor support, a greater rigidity will be recommended
- That the interior has no seams
- That it is made with flexible and breathable materials. Because sweating can cause discomfort.
- It has laces or velcro to provide effective support. The more movement, the more need for correct support.
5. Properly fitted back to the heel. This prevents bad support or chafing
6. Respect the width of the foot. You should try to look for square shapes so that the children’s fingers have enough space and do not crowd each other.