Keeping kids feet healthy this summer

When you think of keeping your child healthy making sure they eat right, exercise and get plenty of sleep are top priorities.

But did you ever think about making sure their feet are healthy?

I talked to OrthoArizona foot and ankle specialist Todd Haddon about why it’s important to check your child’s feet.

“It’s always good to protect people’s feet,” Haddon said. “What we don’t know when we’re very young is what our genetics holds for us.

“There are people out there who have perfect feet and will never have any problems no matter what they do,” Haddon continued.

However, that is not the case for everyone and Haddon has a few issues parents need to be aware of when it comes to their child’s foot health.

“Ingrown toenails are a fairly big issue in adolescents,” Haddon said. “The reason this happens is because adolescents are often outgrowing their shoes before they realize it.

“So when toes are up against the inside of a shoe, children are constantly jamming their nails,” the doctor continued.

Some symptoms a child can experience with an ingrown toenail include it being red, swollen and very tender.

“It’s one of those issues that kids don’t tell their parents what is going on until it’s really infected,” Haddon said.

A few tips the doctor recommended to try and prevent ingrown toenails are to make sure kids’ shoes fit properly and that their nails are being trimmed the right way.

Haddon said the toenails need to be cut relatively straight across and not down the sides.

Athlete’s foot is another common problem among young people.

“Kids feet sweat and if it stays wet inside the shoe and can’t breathe, sooner or later a foot can get infected,” Haddon said.

Signs of athlete’s foot include a rash that burns and itches along with cracked or blistered areas that tend to peel in between the toes.

“There are good over-the-counter antifungal creams to treat the issue, but sometimes prescriptions are needed,” Haddon said.

Keeping kids feet safe during the summer months is also very important, especially when they’re around the pool.

“Kids are running around barefoot and can burn their feet, pick up infections or step on sharp objects,” Haddon said. “I’m a big proponent of kids wearing some type of aqua sock [around the pool] or at the water park.”

When it comes to wearing flip flops in the hotter months, “Kids are walking around for extended amount of times in flip flops and they usually offer little to no support,” Haddon said. “Kids will often get their toes caught when they try to run, causing a fall.”

Haddon suggests they wear a sandal that secures to the heel.

These are just a few foot issues parents can stay on top of, not just in the summer, but also all year round.

“It’s not a bad idea to start checking your child’s feet on a regular basis,” Haddon said. “You can do it around bath time.

“All it takes is a few minutes to scan the bottom of their feet,” Haddon continued.

If something more serious is going on then checking with a medical professional is a good idea.

If interested in talking to one of the OrthoArizona foot and ankle specialists, visit www.orthoarizona.org

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