5 Ways to Keep Children’s Feet Healthy


At NY Foot Health we know that children and adults have different foot health care needs. While they may share some of the same disorders, the lifestyle and activities of children and their ability to accurately communicate their foot and ankle symptoms mean a different approach is needed for preventive care. Below are 5 ways parents can stay ahead of children’s podiatric health concerns:

1.       Trim nails regularly. Children’s toenails can be soft, and children often play with their toes. They may peel the nails or pick at them. This is partly why young feet are more prone to ingrown toenails than adult feet. Be sure to keep toenails cut short, but not too short and make sure there are not curved or have jagged edges.

2.       Check shoe size frequently. Depending on their age, children’s feet can increase a half size every three to six months. In addition, it’s best for children to have at least a thumb’s width of space between the longest toe and the front of the shoe to accommodate normal running and activity without pain.

3.       Observe your child at play. Young children may not be able to articulate that something is bothering them about their feet. Signs that feet or ankles may be hurting include:

  • Loss of interest in sports and physical play.

  • Having difficulty keeping up with peers during playtime or sports.

  • Walking on tiptoe or any other unusual gait.

  • Claiming that their legs feel “tired.”

  • Falling or tripping frequently.

4.       Examine children’s feet daily. If your child has a cut on his or her foot, make sure that it is clean and that there is no pus or redness around the wound. Check the bottom of the foot for warts. Look over the entire foot for redness, swelling, bruises, rashes, growths or any other unusual symptoms. Discoloration of toenails or crumbling around the edges can indicate a fungal infection. Report anything suspicious to your podiatrist. (If you need to locate a foot doctor in your area, click here.)

5.       Listen when your child says it hurts. “Playing through the pain,” is never a good idea and growing pains are also not a real cause of foot discomfort. Pain is a symptom of a foot or ankle problem and needs to be evaluated by a foot doctor.

Contact us to learn more about common foot disorders that affect children and adults.