First Steps: Keeping Kids’ Feet Healthy and Happy

  • By Ruth Ann Cooper
  • 13 Jun, 2016

When it comes to the health of our children, you do everything you can to help them grow up healthy and strong. You get them vaccinated, take them to the dentist and optometrist, and you do your best to ensure they eat a nutrition diet that will help them grow, but are you aware of the important role foot health plays in a child’s overall development?

"Every parent knows the frustration of trying to keep up with children who grow quickly and that rapid pace of growth can mean children need new shoes and socks every few months," says Dr Matthew Garoufalis, a podiatrist and past president of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). With warmer weather upon us, its a great time for parents to take a look at their children's shoes to ensure they're wearing footwear that will serve them well throughout the active days of summer.

Ill-fitting footwear can irritate kids' feet and aggravate existing conditions caused by injury, heredity, deformity or illness.

APMA offers parents guidance for keeping kids in shoes that fit properly and protect their feet:

·        Take the child with you and have him or her try on the shoes. Every shoe fits differently, so even if you're buying your child's correct size, the shoe still may not be comfortable. Have the child try on the footwear with the socks or tights you expect will be worn with the shoes.

·        Always measure a child's foot before buying new shoes. Children's feet grow so quickly, their shoe size can literally change from month to month.

·        Shop late in the afternoon when feet are largest and make sure to fit the shoe to the larger foot. Everyone's feet swell by the end of the day and no one has feet that are exactly the same size. One will always be slightly larger.

·        Never buy shoes that are too large or need a "break-in" period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Buying shoes for children isn't like buying a too-large coat that you know they'll grow into. Tripping or even injury can result from a child wearing shoes that are too big for him or her.

·        Let kids have a say--within reason. "Of course, parents will have to guide children toward good choices," Dr. Garafoulis says. "But allowing kids to have a say in the shoe-buying process can help promote healthy foot habits down the road."

·        Once your child takes the new shoes home, keep watch to ensure the shoes stay comfortable and in good shape. Examine the child's feet at the end of the day for signs of irritation. If your child always wants to remove one or both of the shoes, it may mean the shoes are uncomfortable.

·        Finally, never include footwear in hand-me-downs. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn't mean it will fit a younger sibling the same way. Plus, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete's foot or nail fungus.

To learn more about foot health for the whole family, visit www.apma.org

Dr. Ruth Ann Cooper

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Oct, 2017

Is the surgery painful? The level of pain experienced after bunion surgery is different with every patient. Most patients will experience discomfort for three to five days. However, if you closely follow the postoperative care instructions, you can help minimize pain and swelling after your bunion surgery. As part of my protocol, I utilize a MLS robotic laser both prior and subsequent to the procedure to reduce pain and inflammation and promote self healing.

What type of anesthesia is used? Most bunion surgeries involve local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. This means your foot will be numb and you will receive medications to relax you during the procedure.

How soon can I walk after surgery? You may be asked to avoid driving for three to six weeks depending upon the procedure selected for you, which foot you use to drive, how quickly you heal and other factors.

Can the bunion return? Yes, some cases have a risk of bunion recurrence. You can help prevent recurrence by following any instructions to wear arch supports or orthotics in your shoes.

If screws or plates are implanted in my foot to correct my bunion, will they activate metal detectors? Not usually. It depends upon the device chosen for your procedure as well as the sensitivity of the metal detector.

To learn more about what to expect during bunion surgery, consult with a foot and ankle surgeon by calling my office to schedule a consultation with me.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 18 Sep, 2017

Follow these six tips to help protect your children from serious foot and ankle injuries this fall:

1.       Treat foot and ankle injuries immediately. What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain. In addition to cartilage injuries, your child might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Schedule an appointment with my office if you suspect your child has a foot or ankle injury. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner long-term instability or arthritis can be prevented and the sooner your child can safely get back into the game.

2.       Have a foot and ankle surgeon check old sprains before the season begins. A checkup at my office can reveal whether your child’s previously injured foot or ankle might be vulnerable to sprains and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive brace during competition.

3.       Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players should never substitute baseball cleats for football shoes.

4.       Child athletes should begin the season with new shoe gear. Old shoes can wear down and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot cannot lie flat.

5.       Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports related foot and ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. This is why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in nonprofessional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player’s foot. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.

6.       Encourage stretching and warmup exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging prior to competition, help warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing risk for foot and ankle injuries.

If you would like a foot and ankle surgeon to evaluate your child’s feet, ankles or athletic shoes, contact my office for an appointment.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 10 Aug, 2017

This thickening and enlargement of the tissue surrounding the nerve in the ball of the foot is the result of irritation and compression caused by repeated pressure. Symptoms of Morton’s neuroma usually begin gradually and may disappear temporarily by massaging your foot or by avoiding shoes or activities that irritate it. Symptoms will become progressively worse over time as the neuroma enlarges and the temporary changes in the nerve become permanent.

If you suspect you have a Morton’s neuroma, make an appointment with my office as soon as symptoms develop. Early treatment with padding, orthotics or medication can help you avoid the need for more invasive therapies.

More Posts
Share by: