Summer footcare for kids
Beach season often means bare feet for littlies, but without the protection of sandals or trainers the result can be splinters, sunburned feet, blisters and grazed toes—not to mention a fungal infection. So before your kids rush out to play with nothing on their precious feet, make sure they know the potential dangers that could cause them some serious foot pain.
No shoes, no play
“Going bare foot means kids need to navigate their way across griddle-hot pavements, avoid sharp stones, stray glass and objects they could stub their toes on,” says Dr Brenden.
Yet the reality is most kids aren’t great at avoiding foot hazards—so caring for kids’ feet starts with enforcing the rule ‘no shoes, no play!’
Thongs are commonly the go-to shoes for summers down under, but while they have their place (by the poolside, in public showers and at the beach), they’re not ideal for the health of our feet.
Dr Brenden explains, “Constant thong wearing can result in arch and heel strain, blisters and cracked feet. If possible, choose a pair of lightweight runners or sandals that are easy to put on and take off but will also provide your child with the foot support they need for their growing feet.”
Blisters are commonplace in summer, due to the hot, humid weather. Thongs, in particular, can cause blisters between the toes and across the tops of the feet where the plastic strap rubs the skin. Likewise, trainers can also cause blisters at the back of the heel and between the toes.
To protect your child from blisters, ensure they wear clean socks with their trainers and apply foot balm or Vaseline to culprit areas to help stop the chaffing.
If a blister does develop, don’t pop it. Use a special blister plaster as this protects the blister and helps to remove some of the pressure.
Say no to splinters
Splinters can be really painful and uncomfortable for children, especially if they’re on the soles of the foot. If you’re lucky and the splinter is sticking out far enough you might be able to pull it out wit tweezers. If not, soak the foot in warm water for a few minutes until the skin softens. Use sterilized tweezers to grasp the object at the site where it emerges from the skin and pull it out.
If using tweezers fails, take a sterilized needle and carefully slit the skin above the splinter. Then use the tweezers to remove the object from the foot.
Wash the area with warm, soapy water, dry thoroughly and apply some antiseptic to safeguard against infection.
Protecting against cuts and grazes is one thing, but keeping any existing foot injuries covered to avoid infection is essential too. If you’re sick of Band-Aids falling off, try a silicone gel.
Banish the burn
There are a number of areas of the body that are prone to sunburn—simply because these are the spots we all tend to forget to apply sunscreen to. One such area is the top of the feet. So when applying sunscreen, don’t stop at your kid’s ankles, make sure you spread sunscreen over their feet and toes too.
Teaching kids the importance of optimal foot care will not only help to protect their feet during summer, it will help promote a lifetime of foot health.
Dr Brenden’s top tips for taking care of children’s feet in summer
- Trim toenails and keep them short
- Limit time spent wearing thongs
- Wash feet daily with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly
- Ensure your kids wear clean socks
- After wearing trainers leave them in the sun to dry
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to their feet
- Encourage kids to wear lightweight summer shoes to prevent splinters, grazes and stubbed toes.
Want to know more about taking care of kids’ feet? Visit: mykidsfootdoctor.com.au or check out these related articles:
When should I bring my child to see a podiatrist?
Do you need to get your kids’ feet checked out?
Are your child’s feet healthy?
A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care is one of Sydney’s leading foot and ankle clinics. Principal podiatrist and founder of A Step Ahead Dr Brenden Brown (AKA Dr Foot) has been taking care of people’s feet for more than 20 years. With a background in sports medicine and having served as a former president of the Australasian Podiatry Council, Brenden is a wealth of information when it comes to foot and ankle care.
Growing Pains- More than just pain from growing – A case study
Sam is 10-years-old. He’s a great kid who loves being active, but there’s a problem and it’s getting worse. Sam plays football in winter and, in summer, he’s a cricket fanatic. Apart from these regular sports he’s running about at school and is, yes your average Aussie kid!
Sam’s mum and dad brought him into A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care because, despite being a very happy and active kid, Sam is waking up a couple of nights a week with pain in his lower legs. When he wakes he wants his mum to rub his legs because they ache and are sore. Sam’s mum Beth has used heat packs and paracetamol which does take the pain away after a while but, as Beth says, “They aren’t fixing the cause”.
A key factor is that fact Sam’s parents recognised that the pain sometimes came on in the night after Sam had quite active days, like sports days or family activities with lots of walking.
Visiting the GP, Physio and Dr Google
Sam’s parents took their son to a GP who sent them to see a Physiotherapist. While the physio was nice and showed Sam some stretching and did a couple of massages, these again helped at the time but didn’t stop the problem from coming back. After chatting to the GP their opinion was that this was “Just growing pains”—something Sam would have to get used to, and that he would simply “Grow out of it”. Frustrated with a fantastic but upset little boy, Sam’s parents felt they needed another opinion.
Sam’s mum Beth jumped onto Dr Google and found herself even more confused. Some parents were recommending vitamin supplements, others recommended oils and others suggested all kinds of home remedies. She then found herself on Facebook asking other parents for help. This is where a friend of Beth’s recommended our practitioners at A Step Ahead Foot and Ankle Care.
Finally some answers
When our practitioners assessed Sam it became pretty clear there was more than just some kind of phantom pain going on. We undertook a detailed walk and run assessment, along with some measurements and testing on Sam’s muscles. Nothing was invasive and everything we do is done in a fun, friendly and non-confronting environment. After a short while we established that Sam’s feet were rolling in a lot and his arches where a little flat. In essence Sam had pretty poor foot posture. What this meant is that the muscles in Sam’s lower legs were over working to try and give his poor foot posture support.
This meant that a big day on his feet, like a family outing, a busy day at school or doing sports caused his muscles to work even harder. This led to them getting sore, not necessarily at the time of the injury, mostly at night several hours after the muscles had rested.
Helping fight “growing pains”
To help Sam we gave him a custom-made pair of orthotic insoles. These are made from a soft material so are very comfortable to wear but provided support for the rolling of his ankle. We took a 3D scan of Sam’s foot and video recorded his walking patterns using our specialised assessment software. The orthotics are then designed using our computer-aided design software. Next step is to make the orthotics, which is done in our on-site Orthotic laboratory by our technicians and overseen by our podiatrist.
After fitting his new orthotics into a new pair of runners that we recommended, Sam headed on his way feeling comfortable to return in a couple of weeks. We prescribed some stretching to work with his orthoses and suggested that we may need to follow this up with a specialised massage to relax his muscles as his orthoses took over and began doing their job.
A couple of weeks later a very relieved set of parents and Sam returned to our clinic. In a little over two weeks the orthoses had started to do their thing. Sam had only had pain in his legs once since starting to wear his orthoses and this was after a very big day, his school athletics carnival! After only a couple of weeks we expected this to decrease so we asked them to return in another month at which time they reported Sam to be pain free!! Sam’s parents also reported that he was much more comfortable at sport as well. They were overjoyed; they had their happy, healthy little boy back!
Growing pains ARE TREATABLE in most cases. While many well-meaning health practitioners may say you have to wait and outgrow growing pains, there are alternatives. Our practitioners have had the pleasure of helping many kids with this same problem. It’s what we love to do! Helping kids become pain free, happy, healthy and active is a privilege. If you would like to help your little one to become pain free, please give our helpful reception team a call on +61 9673 2987 or 4732 2007. You can also see find us on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/podiatristsydney
Tripping, falling, clumsy or Growing pains – Is it really normal?
Is growing really responsible for your little one’s discomfort?
So, your little one is having a tough time and, therefore, so are you! There’s something not quite right but you just can’t put your finger on it.
Perhaps they seem clumsy, or they trip and fall a little more than their friends of the same age. Maybe they don’t want to walk distances. Perhaps it appears they tire out more than the other kids. Sound familiar?
One of the most frustrating things for a parent or carer is having a child that, for no know apparent reason, wakes at night with pain in their feet legs and lower limbs. Often they’ll be in tears with pain. You’ve tried massaging them, or heat packs. You may have tried Panadol and Nurofen.
What you need is answers!
You head to the GP to tell them the things you’ve noticed. Frustratingly you’re told, “they will grow out of it” or…
“it’s growing pains” or…
“All kids get that” or …
“There’s nothing that you can do” or…
“Oh, it’s completely normal”
Whaaaaaat – You scream!!!
Well we don’t think it’s normal and there is something you can do!
All of the above are classic symptoms we see and recognise as signs your child has foot and lower limb posture problems, and this most certainly CAN be treated.
Getting rid of your child’s pain
We see hundreds of kids who present with their parents with very similar complaints each and every year. Frustrated parents with children who are looking for answers.
One of the most rewarding things about being a practitioner is getting these kids back to health, activity and pain free! To do this we start by running through a detailed history. We examine walking, standing and posture.
We will then recommend treatment aimed at stopping the pain and making your child comfortable (and happy!) again. We provide useful suggestions around footwear, prescribe therapies like massage or orthotics alongside possibly stretching and muscle strength exercises – all aimed at kids and designed to be kid friendly!
Results that make you smile!
There is nothing better than seeing a once uncomfortable child who woke at night crying sitting in your office with a big smile! With parents who have equally enormous smiles!
Parents get to see their once-clumsy-child running around without as many grazed knees. Many mums feel relieved that they no longer have to continuously pick up their child or push them endlessly in the pram because they can now walk distances complaint free!
As a clinic we see numerous kids each week, and we LOVE it! There is little greater than knowing you’ve made someone else’s life just a little bit better. It’s quite addictive.
In an age where we find ourselves complaining that our kids need to “get outside and play more” or we’re constantly saying “put your device down” it’s important that we make certain that they have the ability to be active – without pain.
Too many times we have meet frustrated parents and upset kids who come into our office after being told there is nothing they can do only to find they could have been making things better weeks months or even years earlier!
Is this sounds all too familiar, we’d like to help. Perhaps this is something that a friend or relative may benefit from. If that’s the case we’d love you to share it with them so they can find relief!
A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care is based in Western Sydney. We have multiple practitioners with loads of experience treating kids! Its our passion!
If you’d like more information please contact our helpful front desk team. They are brilliant at working through what help you need, guiding you to the appointment that is right for your family, running through costings and then reserving your appointment time. Call us today on +61 2 9673 2987 we look forward to helping.
Have you checked out our page dedicated to kids’ foot problems? Click here for more information.
Got a question? Visit us on instagram #AskDrFoot