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Foot Care for Your Child

Exams of the feet and ankles ensure that your child's bones are growing correctly. Your doctor can also make sure that your child is walking right. This helps prevent some future foot problems. And if a problem does arise, it can be handled early — when it is easiest to treat.

When Foot Care is Needed

During a foot exam, the doctor will watch your toddler walk. If a gait problem exists, the doctor works to identify its cause.

  • Only 10% of children continue to have flat feet in adulthood.

  • In most cases, flat feet do not require treatment unless there is pain or decreased mobility.

  • To help with severe flat feet, special shoes or orthoses (custom-made shoe inserts) may be prescribed.

  • Intoeing normally corrects on its own without intervention.

  • If your child's feet turn in or out a lot, corrective shoes, splints, or night braces may be prescribed, although this is rarely necessary. Wearing these devices can help reposition the foot as it grows.

X-ray showing side and top of foot

Your Child`s Active Feet

The foot`s bone structure is pretty well formed by the time your child reaches age 7 or 8. But if a growth plate (the area where bone growth begins) is injured, the damaged plate may cause the bone to grow oddly. With a doctor's care, however, the risk of future bone problems is reduced.

When to Call the Doctor

If an injury is mild, your child probably will not remember it for very long. But if your child keeps complaining of pain, have the injury checked by a doctor. Also, call the doctor anytime an injury causes serious swelling, localized tenderness, limping, or ongoing night pains.

Image of child sitting in chair with cast. Leg is resting on an ottoman. Crutches sit off to the side.

Treating an Injury

If a bone or growth plate is damaged, your child may need to use crutches to take weight off the injury as it heals. In the case of fracture, a cast, splint, or brace may be needed to hold the bone in place during healing.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 8/11/2013
© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.