Children's feet are always changing as they get older and it is important for parents to be aware of any changes that may seem abnormal. We treat children with flat feet, in-turned or out-turned feet, and bone growth problems. We are also happy to examine the feet of growing children to ensure that they are developing properly.

Children's Feet

At Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists, we see children of all ages in our Gastonia office. You don't have to wait for something to be "wrong" to bring your child in for an appointment; we are happy to meet with you to speak about how your child's feet are developing and address any concerns you may have. If you are proactive about making sure your child grows up with strong, healthy feet, you are also helping them avoid many kinds of leg, ankle, and foot problems later in life.

Foot Care for Infants and Toddlers

The size and shape of your baby's feet change quickly during their first year. Because a baby's feet are flexible, too much pressure or strain can affect the shape of his feet. It's important to allow your baby to kick and stretch his feet and also to make sure shoes and socks do not squeeze his toes.

Try not to force your toddler to walk before he is ready. Carefully watch his gait once he does begin to walk. If your toddler's toe touches down instead of the heel, or if he always sits while others play, contact our office. Many toddlers have a pigeon-toe gait, and this is normal. Most children outgrow the problem.

Metatarsus adductus

If you should notice that your newborn’s foot is curved such that the front of the foot is angled or bent toward the middle of the foot, he may have metatarsus adductus. This is caused by the infant’s position in the womb, usually a first born child when the mother’s uterus is too small putting excessive pressure on the growing feet. It will occur in both feet in half of those who experience this.

Treatment depends on the flexibility of the foot. Many times if the foot is flexible, a straight-last shoe and stretching exercises will be sufficient to correct the problem. If not flexible, those instances will require use of a splint or special reverse last shoes. In severe cases, and before the child is eight months old, a series of plaster castings can be applied to direct the growing foot into the proper alignment. These are typically changed every one to two weeks until correction is achieved.

Corrective Foot Treatments for Children

Pay attention to your children as they grow. If you can catch any abnormalities in their feet or the way they walk now, we will have a better chance of correcting them when they are older.
  • To help with flat feet, special shoes or custom-made shoe inserts may be prescribed.
  • To correct mild intoeing, your toddler may need to sit in a different position while playing or watching TV. 
  • If your child's feet turn in or out quite a bit, corrective shoes, splints, or night braces may be prescribed.
The foot's bone structure is well formed by the time your child reaches age seven or eight, but if a growth plate is injured, the damaged plate may cause the bone to grow oddly. With a doctor's care, the risk of future bone problems is reduced.

 Check your child's shoe size often. Make sure there is space between the toes and the end of the shoe and that there's enough room for the toes to move freely.

My child isn't walking yet. Should I try to force her to walk?

No, try not to force your child to walk until she is ready. A little encouragement is fine, but she will walk when she feels it is time.

Before you consider that something may be wrong, think about what your child's daily life is like. Do you carry her around a lot? Does she spend a lot of time in a baby exerciser? It may be beneficial to give her more time to wander around and learn how to use her body.

There's a chance that your child may have low muscle tone, or perhaps some kind of foot issue that is preventing her from fully letting go and walking. She could be experiencing pigeon toes, which is when her feet face inward.

If you child is not walking by age 18 months, you should schedule an appointment with your podiatrist. Your foot care expert will fully evaluate your baby's legs, feet, and motor skills to determine if there's some sort of underlying issue.

Remember that all children develop at different rates, and some choose not to walk until they are a little older. It's very natural to be concerned when you are a parent, so don't feel reluctant to speak to your podiatrist. Even if nothing is wrong, a visit to confirm that you child is well and should be able to walk may be enough to calm your nerves and wait for your daughter to starting moving in her own time.

We Care About You and Your Children

Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists are proud of our tradition of North Carolina family podiatry. We love having children come visit the office and will make sure they are completely comfortable while we examine them. It is wonderful to see parents that care about the future foot health of their kids.

Please call us to schedule an appointment for Pediatric Podiatry today at 704-861-0425

Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists

251 Wilmot Drive
Gastonia, NC 28054