As pediatric physiotherapists, we are passionate about promoting motor development from infancy and throughout childhood. We highly appreciate taking a preventative approach where possible and encouraging children to maximize their physical potential from the start - including training their foot muscles!
The feet contain four layers of muscle that, like all other muscles in the body, children must learn to use and control for motor development. Some of the functions of these muscles include curling, extending and spreading the toes, maintaining balance, gaining ground, and controlling lateral movements of the foot and ankle. In order to develop the muscles of their feet and ultimately the shape of their feet, children should practice using their toes and feet regularly throughout their childhood.
For muscle development (of the whole body!), The more active your child can be, the better! Below are specific examples of playful strategies to promote foot development throughout childhood.
We recommend barefoot for babies, toddlers and children when possible. While baby shoes can be adorable, they limit the movement available to the child's feet and toes. This prevents them from learning to fully move their toes to grip the ground as they explore their surroundings and attempt to maintain their balance. By opting for the barefoot game, you allow your child to move their feet unrestricted and experience their entire foot in contact with the ground, which helps them develop control over their many foot muscles. , provides sensory input to her feet and ultimately develops her foot posture.
As soon as your child starts spending time standing independently, they will start working on building muscle in their feet. At the start of walking and standing, it is normal for children to have flat feet, as the development of the foot occurs in the first ten years of life. During this period, we want to give children plenty of opportunities to strengthen their stabilizing muscles and gradually develop a more mature foot shape.
Here are our favorite fun activities to challenge your child's foot muscles:
- Balance on one leg. This may include walking over or over obstacles while cruising or walking independently.
- Balance yourself on one leg like a flamingo and stay upright for as long as possible (add a pillow to stand on for a bonus challenge!
- Pick up the toys with their toes to spread and then squeeze the toes
- Walking on unstable surfaces such as rocks, sand, or trampolines
- Reach for their tippy toes to grab
- Tight rope walking along lines or borders. The more they keep their feet together the better
- As your child becomes stronger and more consistent with these activities, you can make them more difficult by having them move more slowly or by using more difficult obstacles!
The position of the feet is also strongly impacted by the alignment of the entire leg. In order to promote healthy development of the foot, we must also promote proper alignment at the hips and knees. For example, if your child lets his knees collapse inward, he will be forced to place more weight on the inside of his feet and use a more “flat-footed” position.
Here are our favorite activities to encourage your child to use proper alignment throughout their lower body:
- Avoid frequent sitting in a W as this position encourages a kneeling posture
- Lots of deep squat play! Children should learn this skill for safely descending from a standing position before starting to walk and should use it regularly throughout development.
- Change of position regularly. The more often your child uses different postures for sitting, standing, or moving, the more they encourage muscles and joint positions as part of their play.
- Regularly challenge their motor skills with jumping, climbing and balancing challenges. As they continue to learn new skills and challenge themselves, they will continue to improve their control over their bodies and strengthen their muscles.
As with most pediatric conditions, the sooner we can start treating developmental problems in the foot, the better! If you notice your child walking with their feet in the "tucked" position, continuing to sit or using misalignment, or seem to be falling behind their peers, we're here to help! If your child starts to have pain in their feet at any point in their development, get help as soon as possible.
Overall, taking a preventative approach can be very helpful in ensuring that your child's feet are growing and developing in a healthy way.
In summary, our best tips for promoting foot development are:
- Give your toddler or child plenty of opportunities to challenge and build muscle in their feet
- Keep an eye on their leg alignment (lots of squats, no sitting W's)
- If you have any concerns, get help ASAP!
© Patrick Physiothérapeute Corp.
Carly Aspden is a physiotherapist, Executive Director Fraser and North Vancouver, Director of Clinical Excellence. Carly enjoys treating patients ranging from babies to teens and enjoys the challenge of keeping the sessions effective and fun. Kids Physio Group specializes in the treatment of babies, children and adolescents because they set the standard in pediatric physiotherapy.
Nowadays, many people are choosing to wear compression stockings. They are affordable, easy to access and help to fight off unpleasant symptoms of illness. These specialized elastic socks are designed to offer comfort to the wearer by applying pressure to the legs, allowing better blood circulation throughout the body.
However, those who wear compression stockings know that getting them on can be challenging. The good news is, there are easier ways to don your stockings and move forward with your day. ComproGear has put together a gamme of tips and tricks to help you simplify your compression sock routine.
Before we go over how to put compression socks on, we’ll take a look at the basics : What are compression socks ? How do they work ? And what do compression hose have to offer you ?
Compression stockings are a unique type of therapeutic wear that helps to improve blood circulation in the body. These socks and stockings are often used to reduce pain or swelling in the legs.
Compression stockings can also lower your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis ( DVT ) by exerting pressure on your legs as you wear them. This gentle pressure assists with blood flow from the legs and back to the heart, preventing the clotting and pooling of blood.
You will find compression stockings in a range of sizes and pressure levels. When de course for your compression socks, note that mmHg is used for denoting the pressure exerted by compression stockings. A higher mmHg indicates a higher amount of pressure being applied to the legs by the compression sock. For example, 30mmHg is a higher pressure application than 15mmHg.
For those who do not have a medical diagnosis, using compression socks with a mild pressure rating will suffice. A low pressure rating can help you deal with tired legs and mild swelling.
A compression sock should offer a “snug” fit but shouldn’t be excessively tight. Before you make a purchase, take a look over the sizing chart to get an idea about which size would fit you best.
Medical grade compression socks are generally tighter in the ankle portion of the sock and gradually become less tight towards the knee. This type of compression is called graduated compression. TED socks and many varieties of compression garments use graduated compression.
You can purchase compression socks from medical equipment stores or ComproGear. If you need compression hose for medical reasons, your doctor will prescribe the right compression according to your needs and will help you order the correct size. Prices will vary according to the type of compression sock and its brand.
Those who suffer from medical conditions related to poor circulation can benefit from wearing compression stockings : Anyone recovering from varicose vein surgery. Athletes who are recovering from an injury or who are training extensively. Those who are at risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis ( DVT ), varicose veins, edema or leg ulcers. Those who spend a lot of time travelling or sitting such as pilots, frequent fliers, truck drivers, etc.
It’s a great idea to put your compression hosiery on first thing in the morning before any swelling occurs from the day’s activities. This will allow the stockings to slide on with greater ease. Alternatively, you may lay down and rest your legs on an elevated pillow for about 15 minutes to reduce swelling before donning your socks.
Your legs should also be clean and dry. Dry off completely after bathing and if it is a particularly humid day, sprinkling talc or cornstarch across the legs can help the fabric of the socks slide on smoothly.
to sweat on your compression stockings with ease, place just your toes into the stocking’s toe area. The rest of the sock will be bunched up around the toes as you do this. Gradually unravel the sock upwards towards your knee. Do not crouch on the floor or bend over while standing, as this will make it difficult to sweat your compression hose on. It is best to sit in a chair while donning your socks.
Wrinkled stockings are difficult to wear. Creases in the material can apply démesurée pressure to the skin beneath them, causing discomfort or cutting off circulation. Be sure to smooth out any creases in the fabric once your socks are on. This will ensure you’re getting the optimum pressure application from your stockings. Do not fold over the top of your compression hose as this can interrupt blood flow.
If you wear open-toe compression stockings then this trick is for you. Slip a plastic bag over your foot and heel. The plastic bag’s slippery surface will help your compression hose slip onto your leg with ease. Once your sock or stocking is on, carefully sweat out the large plastic bag through the open-toe of your stocking. You can also try using a silk foot slip to help you put on your compression socks. It works in much the same way as the plastic bag trick. All you need to do is to place your foot into the silk foot slip then pull your pressure sock over it and onto your leg, just as you would with a regular sock.
An effective method for donning compression stockings without the hassle is to use talcum powder or cornstarch. Sprinkle some across your ankles and legs before pulling your socks on. These silky powders allow close-fitting compression garments to slide over the skin easily. Talcum powder can also help absorb excess moisture on the skin.
Applying lotion and creams to the legs will make it difficult to put your stockings on. Moisturized skin tends to stick to or grab the fabric of the socks as you attempt to sweat them on. One solution to this problem is to apply lotion before going to bed rather than in the morning. This allows enough time for the cream to absorb into your skin, leaving it smooth enough in the morning for the compression socks to slide on easily.
There are several donning tools available commercially that can help if you’re struggling to get your compression stockings on. You can purchase these tools at medical equipment or online stores. The prices will vary according to the brand. Popular donning devices include Medi Butler, Juzo Slippie Gator and Sigvaris Doff n’ Donner. These tools are ideal for elderly people or anyone with a mobility provenant that has difficulty putting on compression stockings.
Donning gloves are a great tool to help you firmly grasp your stockings without tearing them. It can be quite difficult to grab and pull the stocking fabric with your bare hands. This is where gloves can come to the rescue. Various brands manufacture gloves that can be worn while donning compression stockings. These gloves also protect the stocking fabric, especially if you are concerned about your nails tearing the hosiery.