Back to school: Foot care for children and teens

As your children grow, you ensure their overall health, but feet are one of the trickiest body parts to monitor.

You make sure that your children’s eyes, teeth, ears and skin are overall healthy and clean.  But what about their feet?  Here are 5 foot care tip for preventing foot problems in kids and heading off ailments down the line.


1. Cut toenails straight across

This will help prevent painful ingrown toenails.  As your tweens and teens start taking charge of their personal hygiene it becomes more difficult to ensure they’re cutting their toenails correctly. Signs of an ingrown toenail include pain, redness and swelling.  If an ingrown toenail does occur, visit a podiatrist as soon as possible.  A simple in-clinic procedure can safely fix the problem.

 Read more: Appointment walk-through for ingrown toenail surgery


2. Buy well fitting shoes

It can be tempting to buy shoes that are a little too big for your kids to give them a chance to grow into them.   However, to avoid any foot ailments, children need to wear well fitting shoes all the time.

Always take your child with you when purchasing shoes: kids’ feet need to be measured every single time since they grow so rapidly.  Shoes that are too tight may cause blisters, corns, calluses, or ingrown toenails that can become infected.  If your child is constantly taking their shoes off, that may be a sign that they’re uncomfortable.

While a well-fitting shoe is key throughout childhood, letting your kids go without shoes indoors between the ages of 1-5 is good for normal foot development.  Walking barefoot or wearing just socks strengthens the muscles in the feet and helps develop the grasping action in the toes.  So once your little ones are back from school, make sure they take their shoes off and they walk around barefoot.


3. Keep feet clean and dry

Preventing bacterial and fungal infections starts with good hygiene.  Thoroughly wash your kids’ feet at bath time and dry them thoroughly – especially between the toes.  Make sure your tweens and teens always wear flip-flops in communal areas such as pools and changing rooms.   These precautions help prevent athlete’s foot (a fungal infection that thrives in moisture) from childhood through to adulthood.

 Read more: 7 Foot problems a podiatrist can sort


4. Watch for lingering toe-walking

Walking on the toes is normal when kids first start to walk.  But if a child walks exclusively on their toes after the age of 2, let your paediatrician know.   Persistent toe walking can be linked to cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or other nervous system problems


5. Show and tell

Children learn by imitating.  Clean and properly dry your feet and have your child copy from a young age.  Also demonstrate how to cut toenails to prevent painful problems once your child reaches adulthood.


If you follow these podiatrist-approved foot care tips for kids, your children will have healthy feet and will be less likely to experience injuries and foot ailments.  Explaining why foot hygiene is important and showing your children how to best care for their feet is the best way to guarantee a lifetime of foot health.

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