HEALTHY FEET AT EACH STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT by Dan Michaels, DPM
Infancy (Birth to 1 year)
Look carefully at your baby’s feet. A child’s feet grow rapidly during the first year. For this reason, Dr. Michaels considers this period to be the most critical stage of the foot’s development.
If you notice something that does not look normal to you, contact Dr. Michaels. Most deformities will not correct themselves if left untreated.
Keep your baby’s feet unrestricted. No shoes or booties are necessary for infants. These can restrict movement and can inhibit toes and feet from normal development.
Provide an opportunity for exercising the feet. Lying uncovered enables the baby to kick and perform other related motions that prepare the feet for weight bearing.
TODDLER (1–3 years)
Keep bare feet indoors. Walking barefoot allows your toddler’s foot to grow normally and to develop its musculature and strength, as well as the grasping action of toes. Of course, when walking outside or on rough surfaces, feet should be protected in lightweight, flexible footwear made of natural materials.
Assess your child’s walking pattern or gait. It is not uncommon for little ones to walk on their toes. However, persistent toe-walking is not normal. Dr. Michaels can examine a child to make a proper diagnosis and determine the best treatment option.
Pay attention to unspoken signs. If your child is limping, tripping, or always wants to remove one or both shoes, this may be an unspoken sign that the shoes don’t fit properly.
YOUNG CHILD (4–8 years)
Take your child shoe shopping. It’s important to have your child’s feet measured before buying shoes. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe-buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.
Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way. Sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
Establish good outdoor footwear practices. Spending summer at the pool? Wear flip-flops around the pool and in the locker room to prevent bacterial infections. Raising a ski bunny? Make sure winter boots fit properly. Kids should be able to wiggle their toes, but boots should immobilize the heel, instep, and ball of their foot to help prevent blisters, chafing, and ankle or foot injuries.
PRETEEN (9–12 years)
Play it safe with sports. Sports-related foot and ankle injuries become common as children start participating in athletic activities. Parents should consider discussing these matters with their family podiatric physician if they have children participating in sports.
Promote healthy pedicures. While many young girls would like a pretty pedicure to match Mom’s, it’s important they learn how to trim and polish nails safely. The Reconstructive Foot & Ankle Institute, LLC has The Safe Spa that provides safe pedicures and manicures. Check out www.thesafespa.com for more information.
Buy shoes that are comfortable right away. Kids may see their friends with the latest flashy sneakers or trendy boots, but make sure those styles are comfortable for your child’s foot before purchasing them. Properly fitted shoes should never require a “break-in” period.
To prevent infections from nail salons or spas and to provide Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Care® we are pleased to announce that we have started to perform Foot Facials or medical grade pedicures and manicures in our offices. A one hour Foot Facial is relaxing and safe. We are providing this service to you as a safe alternative to salon’s that may not sterilize their equipment or use dirty products on your feet. We use organic and/or natural products that clean and moisturize your skin and your nails. A natural nail polish with no harsh chemicals can be used or your nails can be buffed to a shine. You will enjoy a calf massage and scrub in a clean, safe and sterile environment. Nothing that touches you will touch another. Our sterilization process is so thorough that it has been published in scientific journals. We’ve analyzed every aspect of this process from the metal used in the basin, the ingredients in the products to the shape and texture of the products and instruments used. Bottom line: your feet will look and feel great and I’ll make sure you’re safe. Please call now to schedule your 1 hour Foot Facial today! A manicure and pedicure are about 1.5 hours and extremely relaxing.
Come visit one of our Centers of Excellence:
Weight loss Center of Excellence
Nail Care Center of Excellence
Heel Pain Center of Excellence
Neuropathy Center of Excellence
Wound Care Center of Excellence
Surgical Center of Excellence
We provide Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Care® to our patients with offices in Frederick and Hagerstown, Maryland. From basic care of ingrown toenails, heel pain and warts to reconstructive procedures and management of complex pain conditions, we provide a one-stop shop for all your needs. For your convenience, all recommended medicines and foot-care products are available through our in-office store and information can be gained through our continually updated website at www.rfainstitute.com. Same day and emergency appointments are available without a wait. Our staff is approachable and knowledgeable with a willingness to help and solve your foot and ankle problems. We focus on conservative, non-surgical treatment and exhaust these options prior to recommending surgery. If you need surgery we have advanced training in all types of foot and ankle surgery to ensure your optimal outcome with an onsite ambulatory surgical center. Our providers work with you as a partner by listening to and educating you about treatment options so you can make an informed choice in your health management. We offer the latest technology in digital radiography and ultrasound equipment, electronic medical records, on site surgery center, shoe stores, medical equipment and lasers. We have a wound care center, surgery center, fall prevention center, heel pain center and nail care center on site all under one roof for your convenience. We have the latest treatments including the laser that treats toenail fungus and is cleared for this indication by the FDA.
For further information about foot or ankle conditions, contact one of our foot and ankle surgeons at the Reconstructive Foot & Ankle Institute, LLC. Visit us on the web at www.rfainstitute.com or make an appointment with one of our state of the art offices in Maryland:
Hagerstown 301.797.8554, 1150 Professional Court, Suite C, 21740
Frederick 301.418.6014, 2100 Old Farm Drive, Suite D, 21702