Regularly checking your children’s feet is an important year-round task to ensure infections and painful conditions are avoided. The long summer holidays in Britain are often the best chance a parent can get to monitor their kid’s foot health over a longer period, before they get tucked away in socks and school shoes for the coming autumn and winter months.
According to the NHS, many foot problems in younger children like in- or out-toeing and flat feet will ease by the time your child is school age. However, common foot problems amongst school-age children can be verrucae, fungal nail infections, ingrown toenails and injury through sports, play or postural issues.
Following these three tips will help keep your children’s feet in prime condition, so they won’t be slowed down this school year by any discomfort or pain.
1. Protect Feet in Public Areas
Verrucae, also known as plantar warts, are highly contagious and caused by the HPV virus. The virus that causes verrucae thrives in moist environments and can be transferred from person to person just by walking on the same surface. Similarly, fungal nail infections are also extremely contagious and can be transferred in similar environments.
Swimming pool communal areas and children’s play centres can be a breeding ground for the bacteria and viruses that lead to these conditions, which is why they can be extremely common in school-age children, especially during the summer months.
Read up on how you can avoid the spread of verrucae and regularly check your children’s feet for the signs. If your child does fall victim, encourage them not to pick or scratch at the sores, which can worsen and spread the problem, and seek medical advice. Wearing swimming socks and making sure feet are cleaned and dried thoroughly after public activities can help avoid these pesky infections.
2. Get Their Feet Measured
Children’s feet grow at a rapid rate from birth until they are around four or five years old, when the rate of growth slows to approximately 1mm per month. That doesn’t sound much, but means they can grow a whole shoe size every year! Our foot bones don’t fully harden and our feet don’t stop growing until our mid-to-late teenage years, so even when you have teenage feet to deal with, making sure they have the right size and shape shoes to fit them will enable their feet to grow healthily.
Choosing well-fitting school shoes for your children will decrease the risk of problems such as ingrown toenails, corns and bunions, and will also promote good posture and balance, reducing risk of joint pain and injury during activities. They’re well worth the investment.
3. Barefoot at Home
Encouraging your children to go barefoot at home during the warmer months is a great way to give their feet some fresh air in a safe environment. Fungal nail infections love sweaty feet and teenagers can have the sweatiest feet around thanks to all their hormonal changes, so letting them get some air is a great idea.
Walking barefoot is also said to be great for developing good balance in younger children. While thorough washing and drying feet is important year-round, letting feet air-dry in the summer can be an easier option after bath time than trying to tackle those toes with a towel to keep them clean, fresh and healthy.
If you have any concerns over the health of your children’s feet, now is the time to tackle them. Our friendly team of podiatrists are experienced in foot care for all ages, so whether you just want those little feet to be given a once-over or if you have noticed a problem that needs solving, contact Feet By Pody today or book your appointment online.