Is your baby starting to walk? Foot care advice to parents of toddlers
Is your baby trying to walk? When your baby starts to walk, it quickly becomes an adventure! You may first see your baby begin to walk or toddle. It is very cute to watch a toddler walk, with the legs being far apart, hesitant with every step, and jerking side to side. It is fun to watch them, as they slowly gain more confidence and transform their walking. By the age of 18-21 months, your baby will likely be able to walk more smoothly, and without support.
Also, it is not long before they find and love the stairs, but make sure you practice going up and down the stairs safely. If your baby has not started walking by 21 months, consider talking with your pediatrician.
Below are some good tips to make sure your toddler is ready to walk and run:
- Purchase properly fitting shoes – Poor-fitting shoes can cause a lot of discomforts. Make sure to try on shoes first. Toddler’s feet need to be measured on a regular basis. Pay close attention to the toe box design to make sure there is plenty of room to avoid blisters. Also, the foot is complex, and the feet need to adapt to uneven surfaces and absorb shock with each step. The shoes should be flexible, light-weight, and skid resistant! Keep your eye out for a rubber shoe, as they are usually skid resistant.
- Encourage your toddler to wear shoes outside, but it is also a good idea to encourage toddlers to go barefoot inside. By going barefoot inside, it can aid in strengthening various foot muscles, and help promote natural foot development.
- Maintain good foot hygiene – many toddlers can get a fungal infection on their feet, known as athlete’s feet. This can happen when they are outdoors in the heat. Make sure to dry your little one’s feet after baths.
- Make sure you don’t let their toenails get too long, and always trim them straight across. Watch closely for any ingrown toenails that may develop, and contact us at Kansas City Foot and Ankle immediately if you see one starting to occur.
- Parents – make sure to pay attention to their walking and running gait! Some toddlers walk with their feet turned inward, and others walk with their feet turned out, or pronated. Specifically, watch closely for flat feet with pronation. Often, excess pronation can cause exhaustion to your toddler’s feet. This is because the muscles are having to work harder, due to poor position. Your toddler may complain of fatigue to their legs or feet from excessive pronation. Sometimes, it’s a chain reaction, and leads to inward tilting of the knees and hips! They may need orthotics to provide appropriate arch support! We specialize in custom orthotics at Kansas City Foot and Ankle.
A toddler’s foot structure is formed by age 2. The arch starts to be visible around age 2, but it’s not fully developed. In addition, there is a “fat” pad in the arch area that makes it appear more flat.
Please reach out to the podiatrists at Kansas City Foot and Ankle if you are concerned about your toddler’s foot care or gait! We have expertly trained and experienced pediatric podiatrists available to get your toddler running around without any foot issues! Give our friendly staff a call today at 816-943-1111 to schedule an appointment.