Caring for kids feet
Barefoot is best
There’s nothing better for young feet than walking barefoot, whenever it’s safe. It helps muscles develop, allows the skin to breathe and feeling the ground beneath their feet will help them learn to walk.
If your child is wearing socks, they need to be the right size and made of natural materials (at least 50% wool or cotton as a guide). Because young feet are soft and pliable, socks that are too tight can squeeze the foot into an unnatural shape and cause permanent damage.
Socks that are too loose can bunch up and cause blisters and corns. Make sure that the sock seams are well finished to avoid creating pressure points inside the shoe.
Young feet should be washed and dried thoroughly every day. This is because the spaces between toes are prone to infections such as athlete’s foot.
A toddler’s toenails should be trimmed often using small, sharp scissors. You should always trim straight across the nail.
It’s important to check little feet regularly, as nails that are too long can cause pressure points inside the shoe. Some children’s nails will curl in, cutting the skin. Regular checks and trimming will prevent this from happening.
Badly fitting shoes can cause discomfort, but they may also lead to unhealthy feet and even long-term damage to joints and posture.
Here are some common foot related problems to look out for – properly fitting shoes will help your child avoid them:
1. Corns: A concentration of hard skin often caused by pressure from poorly fitting shoes. A properly fitted shoe can help prevent these.
2. Blisters: Formed when skin layers separate and fill with fluid. The right fitting shoes can stop the rubbing that causes blisters.
3. Bunions: This painful inflammation of the big toe joint can enlarge the joint and displace the toe. When your child wears shoes that fit the specific shape of the foot, bunions should stay well away.
4. In-growing toenail: This can happen when the big toe is pressed into the second toe. If shoes are the right width, the toes will have all the space they need – and in-growing nails are much less likely.
5. Rams-horn nail: This is caused by the nail continually bumping against the end of a shoe that’s too short. A well-fitted shoe will prevent this.
6. Athlete’s foot: This is a fungal infection that can be encouraged by hot and sweaty feet. At Clarks we use materials that let your child’s feet breathe properly.
If you are a healthcare or teaching professional, and would like access to educational materials, you can request posters and pamphlets about kid’s foothealth from Clarks.
If you would like more specific information about foot health, or have a problem you would like advice on, you can get help by visiting your local chiropodist or podiatrist. As trained professionals, they will be able to offer you advice on improving mobility, and keeping feet healthy, active and pain-free.
Visit www.feetforlife.org, the website of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, to find a registered practitioner in your area.
For information on the importance of shoe fitting visit the Children’s Foot Health Register at www.shoe-shop.org.uk, or the Society of Shoe Fitters at www.shoefitters-uk.org.