Oh those lazy, hazy days of summer! Children and parents look forward to this fun and relaxing time of year. At Gentle Professional Foot Care we want you to enjoy your summer but also protect your children’s feet. Our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, treats many pediatric foot health disorders over the summer that could be avoided. Below are 3 factors that increase the risk of foot problems for your children:
Going barefoot—kids love to kick off their shoes and go bare foot and while cool grass and sand may feel great, there’s a risky tradeoff. Exposed feet are more likely to get cuts or puncture wounds from objects on the ground. Another potential concern is bacterial, viral and fungal infections which are spread by direct contact. If your child walks without shoes in the beach bathroom or changing area, around the town pool or even at the gym or dance studio they greatly increase the likelihood of coming in contact with an infection. If you’re barefoot it’s easy to come home with a case of athlete’s foot, a wart or fungal toenail.
Overuse of flip flops—they’re so easy to slip on and off, they’re cool and they provide absolutely no support for your child’s feet! While flip flops are useful for pool time, wearing them daily in place of regular shoes can have harmful effects. Flat feet, heel pain (Sever’s Disease and plantar fasciitis) and arch pain are some of the foot conditions that can be caused by spending too much time in flip flops. Foot injuries, such as sprained ankles, broken or sprained toes and assorted cuts and scrapes are also common when children try to run in these shoes.
Being Inactive—for some children, summer means endless hours on the couch playing video games and watching T.V. Although there’s nothing wrong with “vegging out” for a few days once the stresses of school are over, being inactive for the better part of the summer will put feet at risk when it comes time to start back to school in September. Regular exercise and physical activity keep feet muscles and tendons stretched and flexible and will help children avoid problems such as shin splints and Achilles tendonitis when fall sports start up again.