The Pitter-Patter of Healthy Baby Feet

Your baby’s little piggies will be going to the market, staying home, and crying “wee, wee, wee!” hundreds of times during her childhood. Here are some things you need to know to keep those little piggies healthy and safe.

Healthy Newborn Feet

When your baby is born, the doctor will perform a neonatal exam to check for abnormalities. In what might be the cutest neurological test ever, the doctor will tickle the bottoms of your baby’s feet, looking for the toes to reflexively fan out.

Newborn Feet, University Foot And Ankle InstituteAlthough it’s become a cliché by now, counting ten toes is actually one of the first things your doctor will do after the baby’s delivery! An extra toe or two is called polydactyly. Extra toes can easily be surgically removed in the early months of your child’s life to make it easier for her to walk and wear shoes. Post-surgery, her feet should develop normally and she should be able to walk, run, and play.

Some children are born with webbed toes, resembling a duck’s feet. A surgeon can separate the feet for cosmetic reasons, or if the webbing hinders the toes from moving freely.

Another common foot deformity is known as clubfoot, affecting about one out of a thousand newborns. These feet tend to be on the smaller side, and the feet appear to be turned inward at the ankles. A pediatric foot and ankle specialist will treat clubfoot soon after birth, while the bones are still soft and malleable. The condition is corrected with a series of casts, usually over a span of a couple months.

Those First Baby Steps

Although the average age for children to begin walking is around 15 months, parents can get pretty excited if their baby takes his first steps before his first birthday. Many babies build strength and confidence through “cruising” – walking while holding onto sofas, coffee tables, and helping hands.

baby feet and shoes, univeristy foot and ankle instituteA baby’s waddle is different in important ways from an adult’s. For one, your baby will spread his feet wider for more stability. He may also walk on tippy-toes for a few weeks. This is fairly common for brand new walkers, but he shouldn’t be walking on his toes for more than a few months. If he is, consult with your foot and ankle specialist. It could be the result of a tight Achilles tendon or other structural abnormality. In rare cases, toe-walking is symptomatic of a neurological condition.

Another abnormal walking pattern you should watch out for is intoeing, or pigeon-toeing. This is when the toes point inward with each step. Sometimes pigeon-toeing corrects itself with age and practice, but if it doesn’t, you may want to make an appointment with your child’s foot and ankle specialist. Encourage your child to sit with legs “criss-cross applesauce” in front of them, instead of sitting on their knees.

Bowleggedness and flat feet are common conditions in young toddlers that typically correct with age. If your toddler’s hasn’t by the time he’s three years old, seek an evaluation from a foot and ankle specialist.

What to Look for in Children’s Shoes

Some of the adorable baby shoes on the shelves at the store are so cute, it can be difficult to pass them up! However, be mindful of the fit of these shoes. Jamming your baby’s feet into shoes that are too tight can restrict movement and growth. And let’s be honest, at the rate that infants and children grow, most shoes you buy for your baby will become too tight in no time.

Baby Shoes, Universit Foot and Ankle InstitutePick socks that are comfortable and make sure the elastic isn’t constricting your baby’s ankle. Cribshoes are a great choice for their comfy softness and flexibility. Rigid shoes styled after adult shoes should only be used for very special occasions, like dress-up photo shoots. For learning to walk, allow your child to learn the shape and mechanics of her foot by walking barefoot, or in grippy booties.

The physicians at University Foot and Ankle Institute are nationally recognized specialists in pediatric foot and ankle care. If you would like to make an appointment or more information on the pediatric foot care, please call (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.

One comment

  1. You can show your fancy new pedicure off in sandals rather than cheap flip flops. I’m sorry, but flip flops are for the pool or beach. I don’t care what you call it disheveled, lazy, or whatever, but to wear flip flops as shoes, no way. There are plenty of adorable (and supportive) sandals out there. I just don’t get it, never have, never will.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Over 200,000 happy UFAI patients and growing
  • Google+
    Great doctors. Easy to make an appointment. Great staff.
    Francheska A.
  • Yelp
    I had my first experience with this office earlier this week. Dr. Franson spent ample time with me, and was very attentive to my concerns and questions. I especially appreciated his relaxed, but thorough, way of deali...
    Chuck S.
  • CustomerSure
    You all are very good at your job. So glad I am going here.
    Gary D.
  • I am writing to praise your staff for the outstanding patient care I've received over the past several months. Well beyond professional, they are competent, pleasant, and they go out of their way to be accommodating.
    D. L.
  • CustomerSure
    Alex was extremely careful with my foot during the MRI. I appreciated that very much.
    Susan C.
  • CustomerSure
    I love Dr. Gary Briskin, Gray O' Brien & the physical therapy staff in Santa Monica. Super nice people, and very helpful getting me back on my feet!
    Kira L.
  • Yelp
    I saw Dr. Baravarian for multiple breaks in both feet.  Knowing that I would require multiple surgeries, I was looking for a doctor who was on the forefront of medical technology, so I took the time to find the most a...
    Scott C.
  • Yelp
    Excellent thorough care. Absolutely tops in getting me in after 30 days of negligent care from another podiatrist.  Dr Campbell whom I saw here in Santa Barbara CA  was able to see me within 48 hours of my desperate c...
    Sharon D.
  • CustomerSure
    I appreciate Dr. Bavarian's super-quick responses to my email questions!
    Marylyn T.
  • Everything was explained to me in detail and all of my questions were totally answered.. My recovery was a breeze. I could not be happier with the care or the final result. Thanks for the great care.
    George
Same Day Appointments
Now Available!

Or call 877-989-9110

24 hours a day, 7 days a week