Foot deformities present at birth are usually obvious and so they are diagnosed and treated promptly. All baby feet, however, is fairly malleable as bones are still growing and this makes infant feet susceptible to deformities and other foot ailments that can affect walking patterns and proper foot development. At Central Jersey Ankle & Foot Care we counsel new parents to be watchful and check baby’s feet often for any signs of change or abnormalities. Here are 5 simple steps to protect your baby’s foot health:
- Change your baby’s position several times a day. This prevents pressure from being put repeatedly on one part of the foot or ankle.
- Allow your baby opportunities for exercise. Lying uncovered and kicking or stretching and moving the feet will help prepare the feet for weight bearing when it comes time for your baby to stand and walk.
- Loosely cover baby’s feet. Tight covers tucked snugly under your baby will restrict movement and force feet into one position.
- Choose flexible shoes. Even before infants are able to bear weight or walk, their footwear can impact the health of their feet. Baby socks and shoes should not be stiff or tight. Feet should be able to move freely inside infant footwear.
- Pay attention to your child’s walking pattern. Once your child does begin to stand, cruise from one piece of furniture to another, and eventually start walking, watch his or her gait and walking pattern. Some conditions, such as pediatric flatfoot, can be difficult for a parent to diagnose since baby fat and uncertain first steps make abnormalities harder to spot with certainty.