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Foot Care for Your Child

Doctor examining child's lower leg.Exams of the feet and ankles ensure that your child's bones are growing correctly. Your healthcare provider can also make sure that your child is walking correctly. This helps prevent some future foot problems. And if a problem does arise, it can be handled early—when it is easiest to treat.

When your child needs foot care

During a foot exam, the healthcare provider will watch your toddler walk. If a gait problem exists, the healthcare provider works to identify its cause:

  • Only 10% of children continue to have flat feet in adulthood.

  • In most cases, flat feet do not need treatment unless your child has pain or decreased mobility.

  • To help with severe flat feet, special shoes or custom-made shoe inserts (orthoses) may occasionally be prescribed.

  • Intoeing normally corrects on its own without intervention.

  • If your child's feet turn in or out a lot, corrective shoes, splints, or night braces may be prescribed, although this is rarely needed. Wearing these devices can help reposition the foot as it grows.

X-ray showing side and top of foot

Your child`s active feet

The foot`s bone structure is pretty well formed by the time your child reaches age 7 or 8. But if the area where bone growth begins (growth plate) is injured, the damaged plate may cause the bone to grow oddly or stop growing altogether. With a healthcare provider's care, however, the risk of future bone problems is reduced.

When to call the healthcare provider

If an injury is mild, your child probably will not remember it for very long. But if your child keeps complaining of pain, have the injury checked by a healthcare provider. Also, call the healthcare provider anytime an injury causes serious swelling, localized tenderness, limping, redness, warmth or ongoing night pains. 

Treating an injury

If a bone or growth plate is damaged, your child may need to use crutches to take weight off the injury as it heals. In the case of fracture, a cast, splint, or brace may be needed to hold the bone in place during healing.

 

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