Having strong, healthy feet enables your child to walk, run, and play. If your child's feet form correctly, certain types of back, hip, knee and leg pain can be avoided later. An examination of the lower extremity ensures that your child is growing correctly. Your doctor can also make sure that your child is walking correctly to help prevent future foot problems. If a problem does arise, it can be handled early, when it is easier to treat.
The size and shape of your baby's feet change quickly during the first year of life. Because their feet are flexible, too much pressure or strain can affect the shape of the foot. To help ensure normal growth, allow your baby to kick and stretch his or her feet. Also, make sure shoes and socks are not too tight and do not squeeze the toes.
Your toddler will walk when he or she is ready. There is no need to force the issue. Instead, watch your child's gait once he or she does begin to walk. Does the toe touch down instead of the heel? Does your child always sit while others play actively? If so talk with the doctor.
When Foot Care Is Needed:
During a foot examination, the doctor will watch your toddler walk. If a gait problem exists, the doctor works to identify its cause and determine a treatment. To help with flatfeet sometimes special shoe inserts may be prescribed. Sometimes simple changes in "bad" positional habits may help with the problem. This is the best time to correct your child's foot problem as their bones are soft and moldable.