Caring for Little Feet

Children often have foot problems that can go undiagnosed. Many of these problems can be outgrown; however, it is still important to make sure your child’s foot development and health is being monitored.

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Caring for Little Feet - Introduction

Children often have foot problems that can go undiagnosed. Many of these problems can be outgrown; however, it is still important to make sure your child’s foot development and health is being monitored. Providing proper foot care in childhood can help prevent painful or debilitating conditions in adulthood. One of the most important factors in foot development is providing properly fitting shoes. Children’s feet change from birth all the way through early adulthood. Many of the foot problems children and teens suffer from can be associated with wearing ill-fitting shoes. Staying vigilant while the foot continues to grow can help keep some foot problems from ever even occurring. Experts agree that the best shoe for a growing foot is one that is flexible and light, and made of breathable material. As a child grows, shoe size and fit should be monitored regularly. There should be three-quarters of an inch from the longest toe to the tip of the shoe. Make sure that the heel fits appropriately, and the child’s foot isn’t lifting out of the shoe as they walk. Shoe sizes should be checked according to the following schedule:
Age Check Shoe Fit
1-6 Years Every 2 months
6-10 Years Every 3 months
10-12 Years Every 4 months
12-15 Years Every 5 months
15-20 Years Every 6 months
>20 Years Every new shoe purchase

Common Foot Conditions Among Children

While the fit of shoes is important, there are also a number of foot conditions that are common among children. Some of these conditions include:

Pediatric Flatfoot

At 2-4 years of age, the growing foot begins to lose the fat pad, making the structure of the foot more visible. A child with pediatric flatfoot may complain of pain in the arch, heel, or ankle. They may also experience cramping in their legs. Children with flatfoot should be evaluated by a podiatrist to determine the type of flatfoot has and the best course of treatment for their individual case.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused by pressure on the side of the nail, causing the nail to deform. The nail can then grow into the skin, creating a puncture wound in the skin that leads to infection. Although it may be tempting to try and address the ingrown toenail at home, this can actually make the problem worse. A quick visit to 1Foot 2Foot can quickly fix this issue with a local anesthetic and removal of a small portion of the nail. You can help to prevent ingrown toenails with the following steps:

  • Cut toenails straight across
  • Don’t cut toenails too short
  • Don’t pick your toenails or tear them at the corners
  • Wear shoes with plenty of toe room
  • Avoid wearing tight socks or pantyhose

Sever’s Disease/Pediatric Heel Pain

Sever’s Disease occurs when the growth plate in a child’s foot becomes injured. As the foot develops bones grow faster than muscles and tendons, causing these muscles and tendons to become tight. The heel area becomes less flexible and these tight tendons put pressure on the back of the heel, causing injury to the heel and inflammation of the growth plate. This injury is most common in physically active children between 8 and 12 years old. Sever’s Disease can cause limping or tiptoeing and pain in your child’s heel. Your child should be evaluated by a podiatrist to determine a treatment plan. This may include stretching, orthotics, or anti-inflammatories.

While Sever’s Disease is the most common cause of heel pain, it is not the only one. Schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for a thorough evaluation of your child’s heel pain.


Children and teens experience a variety of foot and ankle conditions from those covered above to congenital deformities, sports injuries, and just plain smelly feet. It is essential to monitor your child’s growth and foot health, and it is imperative that you have a podiatrist to guide you as they grow. The doctors and staff of 1Foot 2Foot have the knowledge and experience needed to help your child grow and avoid foot, ankle, and leg pain. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Source: Little Feet A Guide to Your Child’s Foot Health
Dr. Michael C. Dairman