Your Kid’s Feet: Smelly, Sweaty, and Causing Their Knee pain!?
Ah, youth. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t hear at least one my friends or colleagues say, “I just can’t do that like I used to.” We tend to look back at our youth as time of limber muscles and ache-less backs, and unlimited energy. But the truth is that our kids can have some pretty serious foot issues, too – some that might not even be apparent to you.
Fairfield County is sports-obsessed. And I don’t just mean the traditional stick-and-ball sports. My girls are dancers and they put in at least 10 hours a week in practice time -- plus all the weekend-long competitions – a pretty typical scenario that I am sure is very familiar to most of us raising kids here in this “next station to heaven”. And what does this all have to do with a podiatric blog, you might ask. Check their feet!
While we might get misty eyed at the remembrance of our spry youth, the truth is that the rigorous training and practice schedules our little athlete-warriors are going through can have a disastrous effect on their feet. And what’s more, the foot is the true gateway to one’s overall body health. Sore hips, tight backs, even head and neck pain can very often be traced back to a foot issue that is causing your child to have an uneven gait that then throws their whole-body mechanic out of whack.
So, what are we really talking about here? There are two issues we’ll talk about: visual and systemic.
Let’s start with visual. Have you looked at your kids’ feet lately? If your kid is an athlete, my guess is at some point after a big weekend tournament, or in my girls’ case a big dance competition, their feet look something like this….
There’s not much I can do about the shoes that your child dances in, or the cleats they play soccer in - but I can educate them on how best to strap or tape up before practice, game or competition. I can also educate them on what socks are best to avoid blisters, how they can avoid mangled toe nails, and everything else that might be effecting their feet. But most of all, I can help educate them on what is a proper shoe to wear when not dancing/playing soccer etc. - hint, it’s not an Ugg! (Or a flip flop for that matter.) Wearing the right shoe 90% of the time (meaning the 10% of the time they are not dancing/running/jumping/kicking/skating) will have an immediate impact on their overall comfort level and will lead to a lessened likelihood that they will be injured when competing.
The lesser known area where a podiatrist like me can help is with systemic issues. NEWS FLASH ALERT: The coolest fact about the foot is that it’s is connected to the rest of the body! (collective “duh”). That means that when your warrior-athlete kid is complaining of ankle, knee, hip or back problems, it’s probably stemming from their feet! You do not have to have foot pain, to have issues with your feet!
Are your child’s feet flat? (In fact, are your feet flat?) Do they need an orthotic in their everyday shoe? Would they benefit from lower extremity strength exercises or a simple stretching program? Plan a visit to my office for a foot screening and to discuss these issues and what I can do to help!
Dr. Tauber currently has office hours in Bethel, CT (www.bethelpodiatry.com). New Canaan Podiatry will be open in early 2018.