From the moment we are born, foot care is an important aspect of life. Dr. Mitchell Wachtel takes pride in the care our office provides to people of all ages. We are here to serve your family with all of the pediatric podiatry care your children may require.
Foot Care for Babies & Toddlers
Your baby’s feet will develop tremendously in the first few years of life. It is important to let them do so naturally, and resist the urge to confine their feet to shoes. If you want your child to wear shoes, choose footwear that is soft and pliable with room for the toes to move. Socks or booties are a great alternative! Provide shoe-free time every day, so they can kick, wiggle, and flex their feet muscles.
Once they begin to walk, they can wear shoes of sturdier material. Go with the pace your child is setting, and never force them to walk. This can cause physical damage, and it may even be emotionally traumatizing.
During the first few years of walking, it is important to pay attention to your child’s gait. Many children have flat feet, and they will normally grow out of this and develop arches. But what do you do if your child’s feet remain flat? Pediatric flatfoot can be somewhat of a sticky subject because treatment can range from the conservative to invasive surgery. For children, it is recommended that custom orthotics or physical therapy be used. Sometimes there is pain associated, and then it becomes more important for treatment to be administered. Since having flat feet can lead to more serious conditions later in life, it is best to treat it as conservatively and effectively as possible in childhood.
Sports and Children's Feet
School-aged children are very active in sports these days. With obesity rates skyrocketing, physical activity should always be encouraged. However, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your child’s feet injury free. The biggest thing to keep in mind is to buy shoes that are activity specific and fit properly. They should be sturdy with a stiff heel cup, flexible toe box, and rigid middle area. If they get too tight in the toe, it is time to throw them away.
If your child complains of pain, listen! Some childhood foot conditions, such as Sever’s Disease, affect children during the growing years (ages 8-13). Decreased interest in activity can be a sign that foot pain is a problem.
It can be a good idea to put protective tape on the feet in areas that may be weaker to avoid fractures and sprains. Some children may even benefit from shoe inserts to avoid plantar fasciitis (heel pain). Another thing to consider is the type of socks they are wearing. The best socks for athletic activities are ones that are moisture-reducing and that are free of seams that may rub against the skin and cause blisters. Sometimes it can be beneficial to wear two layers of socks. Each child is different, and something that works for one may not work for another.
Podiatric Care for Children
Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, can help keep your child’s feet in good health. Call (978) 794-8406 today to schedule an appointment at one of our three Massachusetts offices. We take pride in treating all childhood foot conditions from flat feet to fractures. Let us take care of your feet, so you can take care of your family.