Children’s Foot Care: Helping Baby Feet Grow Strong

Baby FeetIf you’ve just had a baby, you may be looking at Stroller Strides or Mommy and Me classes to get your body back to pre-baby form. While you are running, lunging, pushing and pulling your muscles into great shape, don’t forget that your baby needs exercise and movement, too. Children’s foot care starts the moment they are born, when the pediatrician checks those little wrinkled feet for any abnormalities. There are things you can do to continue that care and make sure your baby’s feet grow strong and healthy.

The most important is to be observant. Check your little one’s feet whenever you give her a bath. They should have a healthy color, and the toes and ankles should be flexible. Her legs may look a little bowlegged, but the soft cartilage turns harder as she grows, and her legs will straighten out. Problems like extra or webbed toes, club feet, rotation in the hips or knees, or nerve problems will have been discovered by delivery room staff, but you will probably be the first one to notice future problems such as in-toeing or out-toeing, toe walking, or knock knees. These will likely resolve on their own, but mention them during wellness visits to see whether they need special treatment.

Baby’s feet need room to wiggle, so don’t cramp them in tight socks. You won’t need to worry about shoes for quite some time. If you do put anything on her feet, make sure it is lightweight, breathable, and not stiff. The best way for your baby to develop strong feet is to let them move about freely. Barefoot is best when learning to walk. They only need protective shoes when the surface they are walking on may be dangerous, and even then they need to be fairly flexible—not stiff-soled.

You will probably notice that her feet look “flat” and have full contact with the floor. This is normal, because of extra fat padding, and because a formed arch does not appear until after she is walking. If the arches are still flat after 5 or 6 years of age, or if the feet are rigid and painful, give us a call.  We can evaluate your child’s feet and let you know whether treatment is necessary.

For expert advice about baby’s growing feet, contact us at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center by calling (303) 423-2520 or scheduling an appointment on our website.

Photo credit: Lisa McDonald vie

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