Foot Pain
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5 Common Baby Foot Problems and Causes of Pediatric Foot Pain

Do you have a child and want to keep their feet healthy? Here's a guide to 5 common foot problems in babies and why they are often the source of pediatric foot

Published on
December 23, 2022
Baby feet wrapped in a blue cashmere scarf

Babies have adorable little feet but there are a number of ailments that can cause them pain. This article will describe the five most common baby foot problems, including causes, symptoms, and treatment. It will also discuss preventative measures you can take and when it's time to take your baby to see a foot specialist.

The 5 Most Common Foot Problems in Babies

There are a number of foot problems that can occur in babies but there are five common issues that make up the majority of all conditions that cause pediatric foot pain. Clubfoot, ingrown toenails, athlete's foot or fungus, plantar warts, and flat feet are responsible for most foot problems in babies.

1. Clubfoot

Clubfoot is a birth defect that affects about one in 1,000 babies and is more common in boys than girls. In babies with clubfoot, there is a misalignment of the foot and ankle bones due to a short Achilles tendon. The foot is unusually twisted and if left untreated the child will often have difficulty walking and may develop arthritis. 

The condition is usually present at birth and may even be detected by ultrasound in utero. It always requires treatment with a foot specialist. There is no known cause of baby clubfoot but risk factors include family history, certain congenital and developmental conditions, and maternal smoking. 

Treatment for clubfoot begins soon after birth and depends on its severity. Mild clubfoot may be treated by daily stretching. More severe cases will require that the foot be cast into its correct position and surgical intervention is sometimes needed as well. You will usually need to continue stretching and bracing throughout the first few years of your child's life to ensure the foot remains in its correct position permanently. Once fully treated, clubfoot rarely causes any problems later in life. 

2. Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is one that has grown into the nearby skin. In babies, it can be caused by tight footwear, injury to the toe, or improper nail trimming. It is characterized by redness, swelling, and warmth in the skin near the nail's edge and is often tender or painful. If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can lead to infection and cause serious complications.

If your baby has an ingrown toenail, perform foot soaks twice a day using warm water and soap. Let your baby go barefoot if possible, or ensure socks and shoes are loose-fitting and that they don't put pressure on the ingrown nail. If symptoms don't resolve within a few days, your baby is in discomfort, or you notice any signs of infection, including pus or fever, it is time for your child to see a medical professional.

To prevent ingrown toenails in your baby, cut the nails before they get too long, and make sure to cut them straight across rather than in a curved shape. Be careful not to cut them too short. Never put your baby in tight socks or shoes.

3. Athlete's Foot or Fungus

Athlete's foot and fungal infections are characterized by a scaly rash between the toes that may be painful or itchy. They are more common in children with compromised immune systems. Parents can help prevent fungal infections in their children by keeping their feet clean and dry and making sure they don't share footwear or towels with others. 

There are over-the-counter topical antifungals that are effective in treating athlete's foot, but you should always speak to your child's pediatrician before beginning any new medication, even a topical one.

4. Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are growths caused by the HPV virus. They can be spread through direct person-to-person contact or by touching contaminated surfaces. They are usually small and rough and may have a small black dot. Plantar warts often grow in clusters and they may be painful or tender to the touch. 

Children with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of developing plantar warts. Other risk factors include going barefoot, especially if your child is of walking age, and having had plantar warts in the past. To prevent plantar warts, keep feet clean and dry and change socks daily. Once your child is walking, be sure they wear shoes or sandals in public spaces. 

Try to keep your baby from touching their plantar warts as picking at them can lead to them spreading. A foot specialist will be able to treat or remove the warts safely, usually by using a topical ointment. 

5. Flat Feet

Flat feet is common in newborns and young children as their arches often don't develop until later in childhood. Most times, the condition causes no discomfort and doesn't require treatment. In some cases, however, flat feet can be caused by misalignment of the foot and ankle or a short Achilles tendon and these instances may require treatment to prevent complications. 

If your child has flat feet accompanied by difficulty moving their feet, an outward tilt at the heel, or pain in the feet or calf muscles, consult with their pediatrician or a foot specialist. A specialist can usually diagnose the problem by looking at the shape of your child's feet and treatment may involve stretching exercises, special footwear, or modified activity levels. 

Consult a Foot Specialist About Your Child's Foot Health

Although many pediatric foot problems are quite common, it is always a good idea to consult a medical professional if you suspect your baby suffers from one of these conditions. Failure to treat them properly could result in developmental delays with standing and walking, as well as unnecessary pain and discomfort. 

Book a virtual consultation with The Toe Bro today to learn more about your child's foot problems and discover how to proceed with treatment. Caring for your baby's feet now will ease their discomfort, prevent future complications so they can live active lives, and set them on the path toward a lifetime of foot health.

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Baby Shoes for New Walkers: A Foot Specialist’s Guide

Is your baby reaching that adorable walking milestone? There's endless joy in watching your baby pull themselves up and attempt their first wobbly steps toward you. As soon as that first step happens, you may wonder if it's time to protect your baby's feet with shoes. Here are some features to look out for when buying your baby's first pair of shoes and how to find the best shoes for new walkers.

When To Actually Invest in Real Shoes for a Baby

It's always exciting to see your baby hit milestones like crawling or trying to stand up. But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your baby doesn't need shoes until they actually start walking. 

After all, the main purpose of shoes is to protect the feet. But if your baby isn't walking yet, they don't need that protection. Their feet simply need to be kept warm with socks, stroller sacks, or footed onesies.

But there are other more pressing reasons not to buy baby shoes until they are walking.

Avoid Buying Baby Shoes Too Early

You may hinder your baby's development if you buy them shoes before they start walking. If your baby is just learning to balance on their feet, shoes with inflexible soles can prevent them from learning how to move and flex their feet to walk. Allowing them to walk barefoot indoors when they're learning has many benefits, including:

  • Strengthens foot tendons and muscles
  • Encourages posture and balance
  • Helps develop coordination

When To Buy Babies Shoes

There is no set age to buy baby shoes, but babies generally begin walking between eight and 18 months. 

Since all babies develop at different ages, your baby may not begin walking until later. This does not necessarily mean something is wrong. They may just grow at a different pace than other babies.

So pay attention to your baby. When you notice them attempting to walk regularly or you want to let them walk on uneven surfaces outdoors, it may be time to buy their first pair of baby shoes.

What To Consider When Buying Your First Pair of Baby Shoes

There are several factors to consider when buying your baby's first pair of walking shoes:

The Different Types of Shoes Available for New Walkers

You may wonder what type of shoes you should get for new walkers, and luckily there are many shoe styles to choose from. Many are designed to resemble adult shoes. 

For example:

  • Mary Janes
  • Hiking boots
  • Athletic sneakers
  • Leather loafers
  • Moccasins

Choose the type of shoe based on where your baby will be walking. The shoes should protect their feet as they begin their walking journey.

Your Child's Natural Foot Movement and Proper Foot Development

You should search for shoes with flexible soles made of lightweight material so they can support your child's foot development and natural movement. They should also have enough room inside to allow for proper foot growth.

Avoid baby shoes for new walkers with inflexible, stiff soles that restrict movement. This will keep your baby from learning the proper way to use their feet. Look instead for a supportive shoe with a cushioned insole that will help them keep their balance as they walk.

The best way to test shoe flexibility is to hold the shoe at both ends and turn them up 45 degrees. The shoe should be fully bendable, especially from the toe box. 

Prioritizing Shoes Constructed With Breathable Material

You should ensure that your baby's first walking shoes are made with breathable material. Adults aren't the only ones who get sweaty feet! Your baby's feet may sweat just as much as yours do.

So make sure that the shoes include breathable material, such as:

  • Pure cotton
  • Soft leather
  • Canvas

Finding the Correct Shoe Size

You want to be sure your baby's shoes fit correctly. So never purchase shoes for your baby to "break in." 

Their shoes should allow enough room for their feet to grow but not be so loose they become a trip hazard. They also shouldn't be too tight to avoid hurting your baby, restricting blood flow, or causing ingrown toenails that could lead to infection.

You can measure your baby's foot size in three simple steps:

  1. Extend your toddler's feet on a flat surface, making sure the toes are flat on the ground.
  1. Put a ruler or tape measure beside their foot and measure from the longest toe to the back of the heel. Repeat for the second foot.
  1. Use the longest measurement to determine your baby's foot size.

You should always get a shoe that's slightly bigger than your measurements to give their feet room to grow. You can test this by:

  • Making sure there is 1/2 inch of space between the end of the shoe and their toes. 
  • Fitting your pinkie finger between the back of the shoe and the heel.
  • Pinching a small bit of material on both sides of the widest part of your baby's foot.

How To Find the Best-Fitting Baby Walking Shoes

Paid of blue jean baby shoes with red laces, white sole and white tip, on light wood floors.

There are several characteristics of the best-fitting baby walking shoes:

Make Sure They Have Secure Closures

Your baby's first walking shoes should have a secure fastener. Securely tied shoes will support the baby's foot and prevent them from stumbling or slipping. However, if your toddler can take the shoes off easily, it may be best to get shoes that lace securely so they can't untie them.

Look for Nonslip Soles

You don't want your baby to slip or stumble, especially on the uneven terrain outside. So make sure your baby's shoes have nonslip soles to protect them from harm.

You've Found the Perfect Pair of Baby Walking Shoes — Now What?

Once you've found the perfect pair of shoes for babies, you should test them on your baby and buy them! Baby feet grow rapidly, but you can use these basic principles to ensure that every pair of shoes you purchase will fit properly, be their favorite shoes, and keep their feet safe and healthy.

If you have any concerns about your child's foot development, consult your nearest podiatrist and see how The Toe Bro can help you and your child maintain good foot health.

7 Foot Care Tips for Better Foot Health

Your feet work hard. They take several thousand steps a day to get you from point A to point B — all while bearing the weight of your body. You stand on them a long time and put them into shoes that may not be the best fit. Unfortunately, these conditions can eventually cause a range of foot problems. So how can you take care of your feet and avoid chronic foot issues? This article will cover seven excellent foot care tips to keep your feet healthy.

Foot Care Tips To Keep Your Feet Healthy

It's important to know how to take care of your feet to keep them healthy for years to come. You can implement these seven tips to build a good foot care routine and avoid foot issues.

1. Avoid Wearing Tight Shoes

Shoe fit is very important to your foot health. 

Tight shoes restrict your blood flow, causing poor circulation that damages your feet in the long run. They may also cause foot pain that could become chronic. 

Over time, you may notice calluses, blisters, ingrown toenails, and corns on your feet. They may even deform your feet with conditions like hammertoes and bunions.

2. Wear Shoes With Arch Support

Once you've got comfortable shoes that fit, you need to make sure your arch is adequately supported. Your arch does it all — it supports your body weight, propels you forward when you move, and absorbs shock anytime your foot hits the ground. Over time, your arch can become strained or weakened from the stress.

Arch supports keep your arch in good condition because they:

  • Distribute pressure evenly
  • Support the lower body
  • Help with alignment
  • Prevent arch trauma
  • Provide balance and stability
  • Prevent and lessen foot pain

So really, everyone can benefit from arch supports. Look for shoe brands that are known for providing good arch support. You may benefit from a custom shoe insert if you have shoes that fit well but don't provide enough arch support.

Also, try to avoid wearing flats and flip-flops every day. Although they are comfortable, they don't support your arch enough and may lead to a foot injury down the line.

3. Keep Your Feet Clean and Mostly Dry

Feet often sweat throughout the day, providing a perfect breeding ground for harmful fungi. So pay special attention to your feet when you shower or bathe. Good foot hygiene goes a long way toward eliminating foot odor. 

Be careful! You don't want to soak your feet in hot water or leave them in the water for too long. This may cause dry skin, which leads to skin irritation and flaking. 

After you clean your feet thoroughly, be sure to dry them. Don't be shy — get in between your toes to prevent fungal infections like athlete's foot.

4. Inspect Regularly for Foot Ailments

Practicing a good foot care routine allows you to catch any potential issues before they arise. Inspect your feet for any changes daily, and look out for any sores, cuts, swelling, or infected toenails.

Use antiseptic and healing creams if you notice any cuts, and go to the podiatrist immediately if you have unexpected swelling or infected toenails. 

After all, prevention is always the best cure.

5. Use Nail Clippers Correctly

We may tend to use nail clippers to clip and shape our toenails. But this can cause damage to the tender skin of your nail bed. 

It's important to use nail clippers correctly. Make sure they're stainless steel, so the blades stay sharp for longer. A dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one. 

Use the nail clippers only to trim the toenail straight across. You then want to use a nail file or emery board to gently smooth and round the corners. 

You can also use the nail file or emery board to push your cuticles back. However, you want to avoid cutting them, so they don't split or bleed.

6. Use Moisturizing Cream at Night

Chronic dry skin can cause skin irritation and flakiness. To avoid this, use moisturizing cream every night right after you dry your feet off. 

You can use creams, lotions, or even petroleum jelly. These are all nourishing emollients that sink into the skin and create a barrier to protect it. Your feet will be noticeably softer and well-hydrated. 

You can even give your feet a gentle massage as you apply your moisturizer, which can help stretch the tendons and contribute to your foot's muscular health. 

Afterward, you can put on socks or wrap your feet in plastic wrap for at least an hour for better lotion absorption, especially if you have dry skin.

But don't put any moisturizer between your toes to prevent a fungal or bacterial infection. Remember, you want to keep that area dry.

7. Don't Perform DIY Surgery on Ingrown Nails

We all know that ingrown toenails are annoying and even downright painful, and it's tempting to do a little DIY surgery to get rid of them. However, this is dangerous. 

Many people dig out ingrown nails with nail clippers or use floss to "splint" the toenail. These home remedies create a wide opening for harmful bacteria to get into the skin and develop into a nasty infection.

Go see your podiatrist instead. They are experts in all things feet and will safely get rid of your ingrown toenail in sanitary conditions. They can also prevent ingrown nails from regrowing and causing issues in the future.

Schedule Periodic Foot Exams and Invest in Advanced Foot Products

It's important to practice proper foot care. This includes wearing comfortable shoes, practicing good foot hygiene, and using the proper tools and creams.

You also want to visit your podiatrist for periodic foot exams to prevent the development of foot problems. They can also improve your foot health by performing procedures like ingrown toenail removal. These steps will ensure that your feet stay healthy and happy for many years.

Make sure you use products made for your feet. Here at The Toe Bro, we know how important it is for you to take care of your feet. That's why we provide high-quality advanced foot products to tackle and prevent a host of foot problems afflicting people today. Feel free to visit our website and add products to your routine today. You won't regret investing in your foot health.

How To Keep Your Toenails Healthy: A Toe Bro Guide

Your feet take a beating every day and, if you're like most people, you don't put a lot of thought into keeping them healthy. Taking good care of your toenails will keep them looking nice and, most importantly, help you avoid some common but painful conditions, such as ingrown nails and infections. Giving your feet and toenails the attention they deserve will keep them healthy so you aren't slowed down by uncomfortable foot conditions. 

5 Tips for Keeping Your Toenails Healthy

There are some simple ways to practice good foot hygiene and toenail care. Here are five tips for keeping toenails healthy. 

1. When at Rest, Let Them Air Out

Feet spend a lot of time cooped up in socks and shoes. Whenever you have the opportunity, let your feet air out. Go barefoot when you can, or wear open-toed sandals. This helps to prevent the growth of toenail fungus that causes athlete's foot, an itchy condition that can spread to other parts of your body and cause bacterial complications. 

If you have sweaty feet, it's even more important to make sure your feet spend some time free of socks and shoes every day. If your socks become moist throughout the day, try to change them frequently. After your feet have been enclosed in socks and shoes for long periods, clean them well with soap and water and make sure to dry them thoroughly. Keeping your feet clean and dry will go a long way toward keeping your toenails healthy. 

2. Regularly Groom Them

Grooming your toenails does more than keep them looking nice and neat—it's critical for good foot health. Cutting toenails frequently and with good technique helps prevent ingrown toenails and toenail fungus. 

To keep toenails healthy, trim them straight across rather than in a curved shape. Also be careful not to cut them too short, which can damage the nail bed. Using professional nail clippers will help you get a straight cut and prevent potential damage that can occur due to dull clippers. After cutting your nails, smooth out any rough edges using a nail file. 

When washing your feet, use lukewarm water, rather than hot, to keep the skin around your toenails from drying out. If your feet are already dry, avoid using scented soaps as they can irritate the skin further. 

3. Wear Shoes and Socks That Fit Comfortably

Don't underestimate the importance of wearing well-fitting socks and shoes. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to medical conditions such as ingrown toenails, corns, lesser toe deformities, blisters, and neuropathy. 

Wear moisture-wicking socks when possible to keep your feet dry. Shoes should be roomy with plenty of space in the toe box so that your toes don't feel cramped. Having your feet measured at a specialty footwear store will ensure you get the best fit. 

4. Use Antifungal Medication

Fungal infections of the feet and toenails are very contagious and sometimes unavoidable despite your best efforts. They may affect the toenails themselves or the surrounding skin. Symptoms of fungal infections include itching and burning, a scaly rash, and toenail discoloration. If left untreated, they can lead to serious complications such as foot ulcers, so you should always treat a fungal infection as soon as you notice symptoms. A dermatologist or podiatrist can give you a definitive diagnosis and help you determine the best treatment regimen. 

Oral antifungal medications work quickly but could be contraindicated if you have any underlying conditions or are on other medications. Topical antifungal medications take longer to work but have few side effects and can be safely used by most people. Once you have had a fungal foot infection, you may find that it recurs even after successful treatment. Applying a topical antifungal medication to your feet on a regular basis can prevent recurring infections. 

5. Moisturize Your Feet

Moisturizing your feet daily feels luxurious, keeps your feet looking great, and ensures you'll have healthy toenails by keeping the skin around them well-hydrated. Use lotion on the skin around your toes to keep it soft and free from cracks. Avoid applying lotion to the space between your toes as this can lead to fungal growth. For very dry feet, try using a moisturizer designed especially for feet.

For optimal hydration, apply lotion or cream to dry, clean feet. Massage the moisturizer into your skin and then wrap your feet with plastic wrap and cover them with socks. This gives the moisturizer time to work its way into your skin and will leave your feet soft and your toenails healthy. 

When to Visit Your Local Podiatrist

Inspect your feet frequently to identify toenail problems before they cause complications or become major medical issues. Signs that its time to pay a visit to a podiatrist include:

  • Recurring fungal infections: If you have a fungal infection that doesn't completely go away with over-the-counter topical antifungal medication or if it comes back frequently, you may need a prescription-strength treatment.
  • An ingrown toenail: Never attempt to remove an ingrown nail yourself, as it may lead to infection or damage to the skin around your toenail.
  • Tingling or numbness in your feet: There are many possible causes of foot neuropathy and some may be serious. Left untreated, tingling and numbness could become irreversible. 
  • Extremely dry or cracked skin: If left untreated, dry and cracked feet can lead to serious problems such as psoriasis or difficulty walking. 
  • A diabetes diagnosis: If you have diabetes, you should see a podiatrist regularly as minor foot issues, such as cuts and cracks in the skin around your toes, can quickly turn into serious medical problems. 

Use Quality Products to Maintain Excellent Nail Health

If you want to know how to have healthy toenails, you need to look not only at your footcare routine but also at the products you use on your feet. To keep your toenails healthy, shop the collection of high-quality specialty products at Professionally formulated foot moisturizers and nail tinctures will keep your toenails strong and the skin around them well-hydrated to prevent unsightly cracks and painful infections.