Children who participate in a sport should wear shoes designed specifically for the demands of that sport. This will help prevent some injuries and provide more comfort for the child.
It is also important to make sure that a child's athletic shoes fit properly. There should be a thumbs width from the tip of the child's toe to the end of the shoe so that the toes have room to wiggle freely. The heel of the shoe should not slip off the foot when the child walks or runs.
Running shoes come with a variety of arch supports. Knowing what type of arch the foot has - high, medium, or low - can help in selecting the most comfortable and supportive shoes. Many running shoes are made for forward momentum and have extra cushioning.
Orthotics (inserts that help support the foot) can help prevent shin splints. Orthotics are also beneficial for children who have flat feet or who pronate excessively. A podiatrist should fit a child for orthotics.
Soccer shoes can contribute to heel pain in children. The limited number of cleats in the heel of the shoe can cause excessive pressure on the growth plate of the child's heel. Many soccer players between the ages of nine and thirteen complain of heel pain that worsens with lateral pressure. Shoes with multiple cleats at the heel can help to alleviate this problem, but can be difficult to find. Shorter cleats on the football and soccer shoes may help to reduce knee and ankle injuries. For young players, cleats should be no longer than one-half inch.
Plantar warts are caused by a virus which develops on the sole of the foot. Warts are often confused with corns or calluses, but are actually skin growths with their own blood supply. Warts are often painfu1 and if left untreated, tend to spread.
Tips for Preventing Warts
- Do not walk barefoot outside because the warts often enter the skin through small scrapes or breaks.
- Limit excessive foot sweating by wearing acrylic or Coolmax socks. You can also use powders or other foot antiperspirants to reduce the sweating from your feet.
Children often get ingrown nails because of improper cutting of the nail, injuries, or over curvatures of the nail.
Tips for Preventing Ingrown Nails
- Cut toenails straight across, or have them cut by a podiatrist.
- Avoid wearing shoes that place extra pressure on the front of the foot.
Redness, swelling, pain, or infection
A podiatrist often needs to surgically remove a portion of the nail.
- Excessively flat feet is common when in- fants begin to walk. If flat feet become pain- ful they should be checked by a podiatrist.
- High arches are not a part of normal devel- opment. If your child has high arches, this should be treated to make sure that it is not a sign of a more significant problem.
- Pain and infection in the heels can rapidly become serious. This type of pain needs im- mediate treatment.
- Deformities of the toes are never normal. Deviations and crossing over of toes are the beginning symptoms of ongoing problems that plague adults. Early evaluation and treatment can prevent years of discomfort.
- Leg cramps can be caused from overuse of the muscles. You can try to massage and heat the cramp; however, if the cramp occurs frequently your child should see a podiatrist.
- Parents should be concerned if children walk with their toes pointed inward or outward. Excessive in-toeing or out-toeing can cause pain in the future and may cause arthritis.
The information on this page is not a substitute for seeking professional medical care.