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4 Back-to-School Habits for Healthy Feet

Foot health is important to overall health, even for children. We at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Fairfax County, Virginia encourage parents to teach children a healthy respect for their feet. During this exciting time of new classrooms, teachers, and friends, encourage your child to establish some new habits for maintaining healthy feet:

  1. Keep them clean.
    Prevent infection and disease by washing feet daily with soap and water. Dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
  2. Buy shoes mindfully.
    We can’t emphasize enough the importance of wearing well-made shoes that fit. Shoes that fit too tightly can not only lead to painful blisters and corns but can also damage growing structures in the feet. Teach children from a young age to choose function over fashion; to measure their feet each time they shop for shoes (kids’ feet can grow at alarming rates!); to check new shoes for quality construction and adequate support; and, to walk around the store with both shoes on to make sure they’re comfortable.
  3. Avoid viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
    Teach children to wash their hands often, avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth, and to stay away from sick people. These strategies not only help you avoid illnesses like the dreaded stomach bug, but they also can prevent common childhood illnesses that affect the feet:

    1. Hand foot mouth disease – a virus that causes high temperatures, mouth sores, and red spots on hands and feet
    2. Athlete’s foot – a fungal infection easily caught by walking barefoot in locker rooms
    3. Warts – raised, fleshy bumps on the toes or soles of the feet caused by a viral infection
  4. Practice safe sporting.
    Children can minimize their risk of foot and ankle injuries by wearing appropriate shoes, performing the proper warm-up and cool-down stretches, and gradually increasing their amount of practice time. Going all out after spending much of the summer on the couch can set a kid up for stress fractures, ankle sprains, heel pain, or damage to the heel’s growth plate.

Board-certified podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm is pleased to treat children of all ages at our office in Centreville. For prompt, quality treatment of foot pain, injury, or infection, make an appointment with us online or call (703) 996-3000.

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