News & Media

Get your kids stepping to healthy and happy feet

13 October 2020

Growing pain, foot pain, shoes issues, smelly feet, blisters, ingrown toe nails, warts. If you’re a parent, chances are some (if not all) of these foot problems are familiar to you and your child.

It can be pretty time-consuming finding the right person to talk to about all these problems. The cost can also stack up when you’re trialling over-the-counter products like insoles, gel pads and shoes.

Did we mention the constant battle of getting your kids to tie their shoelaces, and to stop running outside with bare feet or just socks on?

Yep, it’s easy to wonder why you bother, so we asked our podiatrist, Roy, why it’s important to get kids into healthy foot habits when they’re young. Hopefully these reminders get your kids stepping in the right direction!

Explain to your child why they need to look after their feet

A pair of infant feet

Feet keep us walking, running and doing what we do every day. If we don’t protect our feet, they will stop us in our tracks.

Did you know our feet can sweat up to two cups of sweat a day? And they are living in a warm, dark and moist environment in our shoes and socks! When we have broken skin or blisters, this environment is a breeding ground for germs and infection. That would definitely stop us from doing what we like!

That’s why showing your child how to take care of their feet is very important. Teach them to wash their feet regularly with water and soap, and don’t forget between the toes! Dry them thoroughly with a towel and moisturise sparingly (not between the toes) if the skin is dry.

Remember to check your child’s feet often for blisters, cuts and bruises before the issues worsen.  We don’t always feel this sort of injury until we look for it. If you find them and they’re not healing, see a doctor, nurse or podiatrist for treatment and advice.

If your child’s wearing shoes, they need socks on first!

Socks and shoes help protect our feet. Socks can reduce moisture levels and friction in the shoes, and they are easier to wash and remove all the germs you grow everyday on your feet.

Shoes protect us from walking on splinters, glass, sharp rocks, as well as germs.

In other words, when we wear socks with shoes, we’re less likely to hurt ourselves. We need to wear socks and shoes when we’re outside, and especially when we’re playing sports.

What’s the perfect fit?

Legs of three children wearing fitted black school shoes

If your shoes don’t fit properly, you’ll most likely get blisters, sores or achy feet. We need to take extra care of growing feet!

When we wear shoes, there should always be an extra 1-2cm between your biggest toe and the edge of the shoe. We also need to make sure the shoe is wide enough for our feet. Quality brands have width sizes (e.g. B, D, E, 2E and 4E) on offer. You just need to ask the shop assistants for help.

The easiest way to guarantee the perfect fit is to pull out the insole and ask your child to stand with their foot on top of it. Check the length and width of the insole – if any part of their foot is outside the insole, they’re not the shoes to get!

Seek professional advice

If your child shows signs of – or complains about – any of the following symptoms or concerns, we recommend seeing a podiatrist for a check-up:

  • Flat feet or high arch feet
  • Pain in the feet, legs, knees or hip (or they’re limping)
  • Bow-legged/knock knees
  • In-toeing (they’re tripping/falling often)
  • Toe walking
  • Growing pains
  • Ingrown toe nails
  • Warts
  • Fungal toe nails
  • Fungal skin infection (Athlete’s foot).

The podiatrists at Latrobe Community Health Service provide a range of treatment options for children with foot conditions and problems. Call 1800 242 696 to book an appointment.