At their very best, our children--and their sweet little feet--remind us of angels. But when children are feeling pain or discomfort, it can be difficult for them to act their best, and personality changes may set in.
So what can cause your children to experience foot pain?
Here are some of the main culprits:
Common Causes of Children's Foot Pain
One of the most common causes for kids' foot pain is flat feet. Children and teenagers who have flat feet have little to no arch in the soles of their feet. For children under three, this is normal, but older kids may have collapsed arches as a result of loose ligaments, joints and/or muscles.
There are two different types of flat feet we see in kids--rigid and flexible. When a child has flexible flat feet, it means that his or her feet look flat when standing, but if she flexes her big toe, her arch can reappear.
There are a few different ways you can tell if your child has flexible flat feet: he or she might have a pigeon-toed walk (a stride with the toes pointing inward) because this helps recover some extra balance. Another sign that your child has flat feet could be visible on the soles of his or her shoes: certain arears of the shoes will wear out more quickly than others, depending on the spots that get the most pressure.
While flexible flat feet could cause problems with shoe-fitting, they typically don’t result in kids’ foot pain. Kids whose foot problems are caused by flat feet usually have rigid feet, meaning their arches never reappear, no matter how much they flex their toes.
Unfortunately, rigid flat feet aren’t something kids outgrow—the feet actually get more rigid and inflexible as bones grow and ligaments become tighter.
Help for Flat Feet
There’s no actual cure for kids’ flat feet, and, unless they are experiencing pain, I recommend leaving them alone. If, however, your child’s feet hurt, there are some steps you can take to help with the pain. The first step towards alleviating the discomfort will usually be adding extra support to their shoes, often in the form of custom orthotics. Of course, it also matters what kind of shoes your kids are wearing: especially for flat-footed little ones, picking good, supportive shoes with built-in arch support is a must. Even still, an added insert may be necessary.
Stretches and Strengthening Moves for Flat Feet
In addition to extra support, certain stretches can really help kids manage their foot pain. Because tight Achilles tendons and calf muscles can make flat feet worse, runner’s stretches and downward dog yoga poses can help with the discomfort.
Kids may also experience less foot pain if they build up the muscles in their arches. Try this arch strengthening move with your little ones if flat feet are making them extra cranky:
- Lift the Arches: Keeping your toes relaxed on the floor, start sliding your foot by pulling the ball of your foot and heel toward each other. Imagine that a ball is getting blow up beneath the middle of your foot and that you need to give it enough room to inflate. Make sure to keep your toes and heel on the floor the entire time, but the rest of your foot may rise from the floor. Remember, this move doesn’t need to be big (in fact it shouldn’t be!) What you really want to experience is a slight change in the shape of your foot, especially in the area where an arch would appear if the foot wasn’t flat. Work this position for as long as you comfortable can to build up the small, collapsed muscles of your child’s flat foot.
Resolving Kids’ Foot Pain
Hopefully, some of these exercises will have helped resolve your child’s discomfort, and he or she is back to feeling like a little angel. In
Hand and Foot Print Angels
- Blue tempera paint
- Yellow tempera paint
- White/red/brown tempera paint
- White paper
- Foam plates
- Glitter glue
- Black paper or paint
- Sequin stars (optional)
- Bins for washing
1. Place out a chair for your child to sit on. Remove one shoe and sock. Pour some blue tempera into a foam plate. Press foot into paint.
2. Press foot onto paper to make a print. You want it centered but have the toes towards the bottom to give you some space to put on the head.
3. Lift off and place immediately into wash up bin. Towel off and put sock and shoe back on.
4. Now on to the handprint. Using one hand makes for easy cleanup but you can certainly do both if you wish. Place yellow tempera into foam plate. Press hand into paint with fingers slightly spread apart.
5. Press into place. Repeat on other side of the footprint for two wings. Place hand immediately into wash up bin and dry. Let project dry for a bit.
6. With a paintbrush and some blue paint, paint in the arms. Use a small sponge, cut into a circle shape, to make arms and hands in your desired shade. Use a larger part of the sponge to form a circle for the head, then paint in the hair.
7. Use glitter glue to make halos. Let dry. Hole punched black paper and glue it on for eyes. Take a fine red marker and make the mouth.
8. Glue on some sequin stars around the angel before mounting on blue paper.