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The last thing kids are concerned about when they’re having fun at camp is their feet. However, every year during the summer we see children in our office who have developed all sorts of foot problems that could have been avoided with a little advanced care and attention on the part of the parents.

Here is a list of tips that may be helpful for your child or children if they are going to camp:

  1. Make sure they have good quality running shoes. Children put a lot of mileage on their feet every day and a supportive, well cushioned running shoe will give them better comfort and protection. Avoid flimsy and inexpensive sneakers.

  2. Check your children’s feet for any sign of warts. They can usually multiply or spread and they are best treated early to avoid a bigger problem later on and to avoid transmission to other campers.

  3. Older children frequently develop athlete’s foot fungus and a camping environment doesn’t help. Redness, scaling or cracking at the base of the toes is a sign of this and it’s best treated early.

  4. Ingrown nails are a common problem with children and yet they often will suffer with them for fear that they will be forced to avoid camping activities. However, they can often become infected and an even bigger problem. A Chiropodist can easily and painlessly treat even the sorest of ingrown nails.

  5. If your child complains of pain in the arches, heels, ankles or lower legs, try applying some ice or frozen peas. This may be a tip-off to a mechanical foot imbalance which can be corrected easily. Poor quality shoes can be an aggravating factor.

  6. Children should be encouraged to wear their socks with running shoes. This avoids blisters and helps to prevent athlete’s foot infection since socks will absorb perspiration. Some parents like to put an additional pair of socks in a backpack on rainy days. While this may not be of great help when the inside of a boot or shoe is wet as well, it’s nice to have dry socks if needed. Then again, some children come home on rainy days with a ½ cup of water in their boots and it doesn’t seem to bothered them!

  7. On sunny days be sure that sunscreen is applied to the top of the feet, front of the ankles and front of the lower legs. This region is particularly susceptible to sunburn.

Here are some tips from a camp director who’s had 20 years experience and knows what he’s talking about:

  1. Kids, tie up your laces! It may sound like a big job and is maybe a real pain, but you’ll be more comfortable and you won’t trip and hurt yourself.

  2. Open toe sandals are a no-no. They may look cool, but in a camp setting where there are all sorts of rocks and stones, injuries to the toes are quite common and you’re asking for trouble. A little cut or scrape on a toe can ruin your day.

  3. Avoid rubber boots on hot days. While this may seem like common sense, when your feet really sweat, then that’s a good time to develop fungus infection.

  4. Don’t lend out your shoes. Besides spreading possible athlete’s foot fungus or warts, having someone else wear your shoes can result in your shoes being pushed out or deviated because of someone else’s foot structure.

  5. Don’t use your running shoes like they’re thongs. Many kids walk around camp by slipping their foot into the front of the shoe and crushing the back heel counter of the shoe. This of course ruins the shoe for support and comfort and at the same time, makes your ankles unstable and can result in you winding up with an injury, especially on uneven trails.

  6. A little extra care and attention to your children’s feet may prevent a minor problem from becoming a major distraction from a pleasant camping experience. Children don’t usually complain of aches and pains in their feet, so if they do, it’s worth having it looked into.

Brought to you by Doctor John A. Hardy, owner of Toronto's foot clinic, Academy Foot and Orthotics Clinic.


Toronto, ON Chiropodist Academy Foot and Orthotic


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