It's back to school time! Time to toss your kids' summer flip-flops aside and head back to school with pain-free feet. Taking good care of young, growing feet can help to prevent or minimize foot problems into adulthood. It is very important and beneficial to understand how to best care for kids' feet. When feet function properly and do not cause pain, they can allow a child to participate in their favorite activities. If you want healthy, happy children, then you need to make sure their feet are feeling and functioning as best as possible during the school year.
Heel pain and arch pain rank among the most common complaints among students who wear unsupportive shoes all day at school. The problems that students tend to have when they go back to school include inflammation of the Achilles tendon, painful pinched nerves, sprained ankles, broken or sprained toes, cuts and scrapes, plantar warts, Athlete's foot and callus buildup on the heels and toes. Here are some examples of foot problems that students have a tendency to experience in the school year:
- Sweaty Feet: After a long day at school, it is typical for socks to dampen with sweat after wear. Skin may also be damp and look white or wrinkly. Sometimes the skin will break down from the excess moisture and become broken or cracked. It is recommended that you wash your feet every day with soap and water, then dry the feet well with a clean towel. Allow the skin on the feet 10-15 minutes to dry completely before putting on your socks and shoes.
- Improperly Fitting Shoes: Shoes should fit properly, keeping both length and width in mind. The width of your child's foot may call for a wider shoe to prevent cramping and irritation. You will also need to ensure that the three curves along the bottom of the foot all have the proper support. You should also make sure there is proper support for the ankles and heels to prevent further discomfort. To find shoes that will allow for both exceptional comfort and style, head on over to www.HealthyFeetStore.com to pick up a pair for your child.
- Ankle/Toe Sprains: It's back to school time, but it's also back to practice time! Many kids get out of shape during the summer, and then jump right back into practice with weakened muscles. The most common injury in children is a sprain. This occurs when the ligaments that support the foot or ankle get overly stretched. Encourage your child to warm up before they exercise. Wear supportive shoes appropriate to the sport, and consider wearing braces or tape if your child has ongoing or recurrent problems.
- Blisters, Calluses, and Corns: Blisters, calluses, and corns can be uncomfortable, but they're also pretty common and easy to prevent. All three happen because of friction when two surfaces rub against each other. Blisters heal on their own if kept clean and dry and covered with a bandage. A callus goes away faster by soaking it in warm, soapy water for 10 minutes, then rubbing it with a pumice stone. Corns take a little bit longer to go away. To help, you can buy special doughnut-shaped pads that let the corn fit right into the hole in the middle to relieve pain and pressure.
Back-to-school season is an exciting time that doesn't have to involve foot pain. If your child develops foot and ankle issues this season, give us a call to set up an appointment and stop in our office to reduce or eliminate your child's pain with our treatment methods.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Hurless
DPM, FACFAS Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon/Podiatrist
Medical Director, HealthyFeetStore.com