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July 8, 2008

Happy Feet Lead to Happy Kids; Local Podiatrists Offer Prescription for Summertime Fun in the Sun

BOARDMAN, Ohio (July 8, 2008) – Summer is in full swing, which means that kids are headed to the pool, the beach, parks, playgrounds, summer camps, and countless other places for fun outdoor activities.

As they do, it’s also the time for parents to pay close attention to their children’s foot health, according to two local podiatrists.

“Summer is thought of as the time for fun in the sun,” said Dr. Michelle Anania, a board-certified podiatric surgeon at Ankle & Foot Care Centers, a group of 15 podiatric physicians and surgeons. “Children in particular want to be outside, so it’s important to protect their feet to prevent serious problems later.”

From going barefoot to wearing loose-fitting shoes, sandals and flip-flops, kids often run out of the house without giving much thought to what they’re wearing on their feet.

“It comes down to two words: prepare and protect,” said Dr. Gregory Blasko, also a board-certified podiatric surgeon at Ankle & Foot Care Centers. “You want to prepare your children with the right footwear, and protect them with the right care.”

Before your children head for the giant slide at the pool, the oversized toys at the playground, or the exciting new rides at the amusement park, make sure they’re properly prepared for demands of warm-weather activity.

Here are a few tips to make the summer fun and safe:

  • Have your child’s feet measured each time you purchase new shoes. Children’s feet change size rapidly. Have them measured, preferably standing, and late in the day for a more accurate sizing.
  • When shopping for shoes, look for stiff material on either side of the heel, adequate cushioning and a built-in arch. The shoe should bend at the ball of the foot, not in the middle of the shoe.
  • Don’t buy shoes that need a “break-in” period. Good shoes should feel comfortable right away. For athletic activities, choose a shoe that is designed for the sport your child will be playing.
  • Walking barefoot can expose your child’s feet to a host of infections, whether it’s on pavement, hotel or airplane carpeting, in hotel bathrooms or a locker room, or near a swimming pool. Always wear a pair of flip-flops or strap sandals made of soft, supple leather to prevent contracting a bacteria, fungus, or viruses.
  • When applying sunscreen, put some on your child’s feet. Remember to re-apply as needed, particularly during a long day spent outdoors.
  • Observe your child’s walking patterns and watch for signs of injury. Be on the lookout for knock-knees, toes that point in or out, or other abnormalities. Also, limping, tripping, and hesitating to bear weight are telltale signs that something may be wrong. Remember that lack of complaints by a youngster is not a reliable sign. The bones of growing feet are so flexible that they can be twisted and distorted without the child being aware.
  • Be careful about applying home remedies to children’s feet. Preparations strong enough to kill certain types of fungus in adults may irritate kids’ skin. Your best bet is to visit your podiatrist for treatment of any infections.

More information about the benefits of podiatric health is available at the American Podiatric Medical Association website,, or the Ankle & Foot Care Centers site, at

Ankle & Foot Care Centers provides comprehensive podiatric care at 19 locations in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Stark counties in Ohio and in Greenville , Pa.

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For more information, contact:

Michael Vallas, Practice Administrator
Ankle & Foot Care Centers Inc.
(330) 758-6226 ext. 207

Dan Pecchia
Pecchia Communications
(330) 720-6912

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