OC Feet News

Posts for category: children's foot care

Kids playing soccerIt’s back-to-school sports season, and there’s no better time to brush up on these 5 safety tips to protect them from serious ankle injuries.

Every fall, Orange County foot and ankle surgeon Jonathan Bennett, DPM, notices an increase in ankle injuries among young athletes. Football, soccer and basketball are the sports most likely to lead to sprains, broken bones and other problems, he says. Bennett has offices in Fullerton and Tustin.

Bennett's top recommendation is for parents are to get ankle injuries treated right away.

"What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain; in addition to cartilage injuries, your son or daughter might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Have a qualified doctor examine the injury," says Bennett. "The sooner rehabilitation starts, the sooner we can prevent long-term problems like instability or arthritis, and the sooner your child can get back into competition."

Bennett says parents should also follow these additional tips from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons' Web site, FootHealthFacts.org: 

  1. Have old sprains checked by a doctor before the season starts. A medical check-up can reveal whether your child's previously injured ankle might be vulnerable to sprains, and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive ankle brace during competition.

  2. Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players shouldn't mix baseball cleats with football shoes. 

  3. Children should start the season with new shoes. Old shoes can wear down like a car tire and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot can't lie flat. 

  4. Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports-related ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. That's why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in non-professional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player's foot and throw them to the ground. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.

  5. Encourage stretching and warm-up exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging before competition helps warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing the risk for ankle injuries.

Have more questions? Don’t hesitate to call the Orange County Foot & Ankle Group. We also have same day appointments.

Buying children's shoesWith kids back in school after a summer of bare feet and sandals, parents are shopping for shoes for feet that seem to have grown longer in just a few months. To help busy parents with shoe choices, Orange County Foot & Ankle Group recommends some simple guidelines to prevent or minimize possible foot problems from inappropriate shoes, such as painful ingrown toenails, blisters, heel pain and flat feet.

When choosing kids’ shoes, size and shock absorption are the key considerations, especially if your child has flat feet that can worsen from improper fitting or worn-out shoes. Also, a child’s foot can grow a size or two within six months, so it’s critical to allow room for growth in the toe box—about a finger’s width from the longest toe.

Avoid too-snug shoes

Snug shoes can pressure on the toes, causing ingrown nails. The nail can compress and grow down into the skin. According to FootHealthFacts.org, the ACFAS consumer website, infection can occur when an ingrown nail breaks through the skin.

If there’s pain, redness and fluid draining from the area, it’s probably infected. The ingrown nail can be removed in a simple, in-office procedure. Don’t try to remove a child’s ingrown nail at home; this can cause the condition to worsen.

Tight-fitting shoes also cause blisters, corns and calluses on the toes and blisters on the back of the heels.

We suggest to avoid buying shoes that feel tight and uncomfortable in the store, and not assume they will stretch or break in over time. On the other hand, shoes that are too loose can cause problems, too.

Avoid too-loose shoes

If a shoe is too loose, the foot slides forward and puts excessive pressure on the toes.

Inspect Old Shoes for Wear

We also recommend parents carefully inspect both new and old shoes to check for proper cushioning and arch support.

Shoes lose their shock absorption over time, and wear and tear around the edges of the sole usually indicates it’s worn out and should be replaced. If a child keeps wearing worn-out or non-supportive dress or athletic shoes, it elevates the risk for developing heel pain, Achilles tendonitis and even ankle sprains and stress fractures.   

Tips for Buying New Shoes

  • The toe box should flex easily and the shoe shouldn’t bend in the middle of the sole.
  • For children with flat feet, we suggest parents should buy oxford, lace-up shoes that have enough depth for an orthotic insert, if necessary.
  • Unfortunately, there isn’t much choice for kids with flat, wide feet. They need shoes with a wide toe box and maximum arch support and shock absorption. Slip-on loafers aren’t right for them.

For more information about childhood foot care, contact Orange County Foot & Ankle Group at one of our Our Locations in the OC area, or  learn more about feet issues in our Patient Education libary.

Whether it is a precious baby's first steps or a quick-maneuvering teenager's winning soccer goal, healthy feet and sure-footedness make milestones in a child's life possible. Starting at birth, paying close attention to your little one's feet from proper grooming to gait will ensure a solid foundation as your youngster grows. After all, their feet are meant to last a lifetime!


Luckily, today's podiatrist is uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat the complex structure of the foot and ankle, based on their education, training, and experience. They can provide guidance for keeping children's feet healthy at all developmental stages, and treat any injuries or abnormalities.

To learn more about children's foot health, or if you suspect your child is experiencing foot pain, make an appointment with Orange County Foot & Ankle Group today!

For Parents:

*Article provided courtesy Louis DeCaro, DPM, incoming president of the American College of Foot and Ankle Pediatrics

Heed Caution to Kids’ Heel PainBack to school months bring basketball, cheerleading, wrestling and hockey seasons all rolled together. With these school sport seasons in full swing remember your kids should never “play through the pain” in their feet. Left untreated, a nagging heel pain can lead to difficulty in walking that may require complicated therapy or treatment.

We see more young athletes during this season than any other patient. Kids who have growth spurts could have heel pain starting at age eight until around age 13 (girls) and 15 (boys). The source of the pain is usually the growth plate of the heel bone, since it is continually growing with the body. Overuse, repeated pounding, or excessive weight or force on the Achilles tendon can also cause inflammation and pain.

Help your athlete prevent heal pain:

  • Use the correct shoe for the Use the correct shoe for the given sport, since different sports require various levels of support. Have shoes professionally fitted to ensure proper fit and function.

  • Appropriate stretching and warm up for all sports activities should be done to help prevent injury.

  • If your child is overweight, help him or her to shed some pounds. Extra weight puts additional stress on the feet.

  • Limit wearing cleated shoes to the time actually spent on the field. Cleated shoes do not provide adequate support and may cause increased pressure on the feet.

  • Make sure shoes are well-constructed and support the foot adequately.

Most importantly, don’t wait to have your child’s foot or ankle pain examined by our office for an accurate diagnosis and to avoid complications.