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PODIATRISTS & CHIROPODISTS

HCPC REGISTERED


FOOTCARE


Babies' Feet | Children's Feet | Adult's Feet | Older People

BABIES' FEET

A lot of foot problems are hereditary so it is a good idea to have your baby's feet checked if you are at all concerned about the shape of the feet or the toes. Once a baby starts to walk they keep their feet wide apart and will find it difficult to balance; this is perfectly normal. However, if after a couple of months the toddler still falls over frequently or seems to be reluctant to walk it's worth bringing him/ her in for a consultation.

Sometimes babies have ingrowing toenails even in the first few weeks after birth; we can treat these nails and advise you on how best to look after them.

CHILDRENS' FEET

Toddlers' feet are plump which gives them the appearance of having no arches. However, if your child looks a bit knock-kneed and doesn't like to walk or run they might have a foot problem.

A tendency to ingrowing toenails can indicate that the big toes are pulling up against the top of the shoes while the child is walking.

Curly toes should be checked even if they run in the family, we can often straighten them using a silicone splint that's east to take on and off.

Pigeon-toed children should have their feet checked, some children will grow out of this way of walking but many do not.

Children often catch verrucae (plantar warts). Small verrucae can be easily treated with an over-the-counter preparation but any painful or obstinate verrucae should be professionally treated.

It is important to look after childrens' feet as a lot of conditions are easily treated in childhood which are difficult to treat as adults.

Bunions need to be treated very early so if you have a family tendency to develop bunions you should have your childrens' feet checked.

Shoefitting is important; small children won't notice if their shoes are too small. Young children need to have their shoes checked every six weeks by a qualified shoefitter.

Shoes should never be handed down from one child to another; if the older child has a walking problem the younger one might develop a foot problem.

ADULTS' FEET

A lot of adults have grown up with a foot/ walking related problem. They may have worn corrective shoe inserts as a child but not as a teenager and often they still need inserts (orthoses) as an adult.

How do I know if I need orthoses?

Corns and callous (hard skin) that repeatedly form in the same part of the foot (e.g. on the top of the little toe) indicate excessive shoe pressure on this part of the foot. This excessive shoe pressure normally results from the foot functioning badly within the shoe. If you can never find comfortable shoes it might be because your feet are the problem and not the shoes.

Recurrent ingrowing toenails indicate a walking problem (unless you always wear tight-fitting pointed-toe shoes). Lower back pain, knee pain and ankle instability or pain can result from malfunctioning feet.

Adults can catch verrucae by walking barefoot where other people with verrucae have walked. Small verracae can be treated using an over-the-counter preparation but large, painful or obstinate verrucae should be treated by a podiatrist.

Fungal infections (athlete's foot) are common in adults.

OLDER PEOPLE

There are a few problems which tend to affect older peoples' feet. The main problem is that the circulation worsens with age and even in younger life the feet don't have a great blood supply. The result in older people's feet is an increased susceptibility to infections, mainly fungal or bacterial.

With age the toenails thicken, the eyesight worsens and often the back gets a bit stiffer; these factors combine to make footcare difficult.

However, older people can often be helped by wearing orthoses in their shoes to prevent excessive shoe pressure on their toes and to increase their stability when walking.

They may need to see a podiatrist for general footcare on a regular basis.

 
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