Monday, March 30, 2009


Here are a few activities that can be entertaining, but also help keep foot health in mind:

Study animal tracks in the snow
Make painted human foot prints on paper
Obtain rubber animal paws and press into dough or clay

Make a collage of footwear (cut from magazines, draw from reference books, collect from families and community)
Get into multicultural and historical aspects-what people wear on their feet in different parts of the world
Relate that to environment, weather, seasons, geography, gender, etc.

Sensory Walk
On long strip of poster paper, set up a path with different textures to walk on
Start with sand, move to hay or grass, then to cotton, then to paint or pudding to make footprints, then to shaving cream, and finally to water
Be sure to have several helpers to hold hands while walking

Keeping Your Child's Feet Healthy


Because the heel’s growth plate is sensitive to repeated running and pounding on hard surfaces, pediatric heel pain often reflects overuse. Children and adolescents involved in soccer, track, or basketball are especially vulnerable. One common overuse syndrome is Achilles tendonitis. This inflammation of the tendon usually occurs in children over the age of 14. Another overuse syndrome is plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that runs along the bottom of the foot fromthe heel to the toes.

If your child is experiencing any of these problems, please call Dr. Vail's office immediately for an appointment. Do not let these problems go unchecked!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Anatomy of Your Foot

The foot, or pes, contains the 26 bones of the ankle, instep, and the five toes. The ankle, or tarsus, is composed of the 7 tarsal bones which correspond to the carpals in the wrist. The largest tarsal bone is called the calcaneus or heel bone. The talus rests on top of the calcaneus and is connected to the tibia. Directly in front of the talus is the navicular bone. The remaining bones from medial to lateral are the medial, intermediate, the lateral cuneiform bones, and the cuboid bone.

The metatarsal and phalanges bones of the foot are similar in number and position to the metacarpal and phalanges bones of the hand. The five metatarsal bones are numbered I to V starting on the medial side with the big toe. The first metatarsal bone is larger than the others because it plays a major role in supporting the body's weight. The 14 phalanges of the foot, as with the hand, are arranged in a proximal row, a middle row, and a distal row, with the big toe, or hallux, having only a proximal and distal phalanx.

The foot's two arches are formed by the structure and arrangement of the bones and are maintained by tendons and ligaments. The arches give when weight is placed on the foot and spring back when the weight is lifted off of the foot. The arches may fall due to a weakening of the ligaments and tendons in the foot.
Kid friendly version to come...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Build Your Knowledge...

Is Your Child Walking Right?: Parent's Guide to Little Feet
Editor: Andrew K.C. Chong
Publisher: Wheaton Resource Corp; (1997)

Is Your Child Walking Right?: Parent's Guide to Little Feet, written by a Harvard trained pediatric orthopedic surgeon, is an attempt to set the record straight. Writing in simple conversational style, he draws on experience and documented research findings to distinguish for the reader fact from fiction; he answers questions all parents have about their children's feet and leg problems. An especially useful chapter on shoes describes how parents should select shoes for their children.

First published in 1986, and updated in 1997, Is Your Child Walking Right?: Parent's Guide to Little Feet has helped thousands of parents and children around the world. Packed with practical information and advice, this book is a reading must for all who care about children's feet, whether parent or professional, but especially parents.

As always, for one-on-one dialogue about concerns you have with your child's feet and ankles, contact The Advanced Footcare Clinic to schedule an appointment with Dr. Vail - 419-423-1888.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Here Comes the Sun...and Bare Feet...

As warmer weather approaches and your child begins to spend more time outside, it is important to understand the importance of proper care of their feet - especially as we become more active with various recreational activities. With this in mind, we ask that you educate yourself and your family about the correct way to ensure that everyone will have minimal problems, if any at all, as the outdoor season continues this year.

Dr. Vail has provided you and your family with a wealth of resources to aid you in proper foot care - website, blogs, on-line store. Updates are continuously made to ensure that you and your family receive the latest and current podiatric information.

And as always, contact the office to make an appointment with Dr. Vail to ensure you are giving your feet and ankles the best care possible!

The Advanced Footcare Clinic

1725 Western Ave., Suite C

Findlay, OH 45840


Friday, March 20, 2009

Never Ending Fun with Feet!

Thinking about having a SCARY time at your next Halloween party?
Try these!


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Biscuit dough
Green food coloring
Cocktail franks
Honey mustard
Black olives

1. If you make your own biscuit dough, add 5 drops of green food coloring to your batter before you kneed it and roll it out.
2. If you buy ready made, brush the dough with green food coloring after the toes are made.
3. Roll out your dough.
4. Spread mustard on the dough.
5. Cut pieces big enough to cover one cocktail frank.
6. Roll it and seal shut.
7. Cut a black olive in half.
8. Push one half into the dough on the edge of the cocktail frank. This is the toenail.
9. Place all of the toes on a cookie sheet.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes.

"Elegy on a Sore Toe," Poem by Robert T. Hall , November 15, 1842

Oh that I had the enchanted pen
Whose words were write in blood and fire
Which were indellible; for then
I'd gratify my own desire
And to all future ages show
The sorrows of my poor old toe

My poor old toe
How long have you
with stick and stump and stone contended
Your thwacks and thumps have not been few
And well I wish that they were ended
But yet they come and none can know
when they will ceace. My poor old toe

What have I done that I should bear
The pains and sufferings of this sore
I am no worse than others are
Then why should I be punished more
I know not why but it is sore
And I cant cure my poor old toe

Tis something strange indeed to me
When ere I walk in crowds or lone
Just in my path there'll always be
Some obstacle a block or stone
And thus you see where'ere I go
I'm sure to stump my poor old toe

A dozen folks may with me walk
And each may have like me ten toes
Yet while unhurt they laugh and talk
I writhe beneath the killing blows
which every moment fill with woe
unutterable my poor old toe

Tis said Lord Byron used to curse
His illstared fate which made him lame
And surely his was nothing worse
Than mine, since mine is just the same
Except his foot was lame you know
with me it was my poor old toe—

Tis natural that man should long
When parties, weddings, balls abound
To join in dance the giddy throng
when ere the dancing time comes round
But I can't dance or act the beau
Because 'twould kill my poor old toe

I cannot even walk with grace
With ladies fair, (oh sad misfortune)
In each and every time and place
My ill luck still does me importune
For I must limp and thereby show
The D—l is in my poor old toe

And now my friends Ive nearly done
This elegy upon my toe
I almost wish Id not begun
I almost wish Id not begun
But since tis write Ill let it go
And thus expose my poor old toe

But ere I ceace this plaintive strain
This sad momento of my evil
I'll tell you one and all quite plain
I wish my toe was at the devil
For now an everlasting foe
Attends me in my poor old toe-

Before YOU have to write your own elegy, be sure to contact Dr. Vail to help you care for your ailing toe!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's Always A Good Time to Think About the Future!

Parents and Kids - Considering what career to pursue? Looking at Ohio colleges? Consider a medical career in Podiatry!

The Premier Podiatric Medical Institution

In the summer of 2007, the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine embarked on a historic transition as the 92 year old college moved into a state-of-the-art educational and learning facility. The impressive 122,000 square foot, Georgian building includes a brand new 7,000 square foot, 300-seat auditorium, high-tech lab and library facilities, newly created computer learning and media center, upgraded school dining hall, and renovated office spaces. Situated on 27-acres of wooded land, OCPM is surrounded by dense trees and land, giving students a true campus feeling.

OCPM has grown throughout the years to become one of the most highly-reputable, internationally respected medical institutions in the world. From the college's cutting-edge and advanced technology, to innovative laboratories and classrooms, the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine offers students a superior, modern, educational environment. Through the vision of the college's founding members of 1916, OCPM today offers its students a teaching environment comprised of faculty and staff who are among the most distinguished, authored, and leading podiatrists and medical professionals in the entire country. Students who graduate from OCPM find themselves at the forefront of the podiatry profession.

Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine
6000 Rockside Woods Blvd.
Independence, OH 44131

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Prevention is Key!

It is never a bad time to check your child's feet! Here is a quick checklist (as suggested by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons) to use to determine if your child would need a visit to Dr. Vail's office:

1. Do the bottom of the child’s shoes show uneven wear patterns?
2. Does the child walk irregularly? Is one leg longer than the other or do feet turn in or out excessively?
3. Do pre-schoolers walk on their toes?
4. Does the child often trip or stumble?
5. Does the child complain of tired legs, night pains and cramping?

If you notice any problems (no matter how minor they may seem) do not hesitate to contact Dr. Vail for consultation. Taking care of foot problems during your child's younger years can prevent larger problem when they are older!

For additional information, please call to order Dr. Vail's FREE book!

To order call 1-800-487-8951 -

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cross Foot Race

Hey Kids! At your next family gathering, try this game! It is guaranteed to give you lots of laughs!

Mix up your feet and start hopping.

To play, take off your shoes and divide up into teams of two.
Standing beside your partner, each of you crosses your outside foot over your inside foot.
Then your partner holds your outside foot and you hold his or hers.
Now start hopping!
The last team still hopping wins.


In case you have accessed this Blog via an internet search, please check out Dr. Vail's new and improved website for ALL your foot care needs!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009


April 18, 2009
Downtown YMCA
In Collaboration with Blanchard Valley Systems
Free and Open to the Community
  • Open Gym and Swim
  • Freebies
  • Moon Walk
  • Fire Truck Display
  • Police Canine Demo
  • Family Aerobic Demo

For more information contact Brian Hitchcock at


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flat Feet In Children

Another common concern that many parents have about their children's foot health is flat feet or absence of arch development. While flat feet in kids is not in and of itself a cause for significant concern, if a child is experiencing foot pain, flat feet is a common cause. There is also a chance that flat feet in childhood may lead to foot problems later in life due to a child's developing body using other muscles, tendons, and bones to compensate for the lack of support in the structure of the foot. Dr. Vail recommends that your flat-footed child wear children's arch supports and supportive shoes to ensure that the foot develops in a way that is consistent with proper weight bearing later in life.

Please contact Dr. Vail's office to receive additional assistance with your child's foot care needs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Even Dr. Seuss Cares About Your Feet!

The Foot Book

Kids! After you have read Dr. Seuss' "The Foot Book," gather your family and friends and try some of the following activities:

Paint with the your feet and create your own Foot Book
Count the number of feet in your family, then recount by 2s.
Play Twister
Graph shoes according to characteristics
Pile shoes and have a race to see who can get their shoes on first and tied
Make a pattern with your shoes

Information gathered from:

Your Child Thinks It Is Stylish...But Be Informed...

Summer Flip-Flops May Lead to Foot Pain
Tara Parker-Pope on Health
June 5, 2008

Flip-flops are a mainstay of summertime footwear, but they can be painfully bad for your feet and legs, new research shows.

Researchers from Auburn University in Alabama studied the biomechanics of the flip-flop and determined that wearing thong-style flip-flops can result in sore feet, ankles and legs.

“We found that when people walk in flip-flops, they alter their gait, which can result in problems and pain from the foot up into the hips and lower back,” said Justin Shroyer, a biomechanics doctoral student who presented the findings to the recent annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.

For the study, the researchers recruited 39 college-age men and women and asked them to wear flip-flops or athletic shoes. They then had them walk a platform that measured vertical force as their feet hit the ground. A video camera measured stride length and limb angles.

Flip-flop wearers took shorter steps and their heels hit the ground with less vertical force than when the same walkers wore athletic shoes. People wearing flip-flops also don’t bring their toes up as much as the leg swings forward. That results in a larger angle to the ankle and a shorter stride length, the study showed. The reason may be that people tend to grip flip-flops with their toes.

Mr. Shroyer notes that he himself owns two pairs of flip-flops, and the research doesn’t mean people shouldn’t wear them. However, flip-flops are best worn for short periods of time, like at the beach or for comfort after an athletic event. But they are not designed to properly support the foot and ankle during all-day wear, he notes.

Please contact Dr. Vail's office to receive additional assistance with your child's foot care needs.

Information gathered from:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Be Creative!

Kids - here is an excellent way to express your creative side!


Make a fun T-shirt full of real footprints and a special message. A great gift idea!
Instructions: Simply step into a shallow dish with fabric paint in it and then step on the t-shirt. Once the footprints are dry, use a permanent marker to write your message!

Sever's Disease

In general a child's foot tends to be more elastic and resilient than an adult and thus less prone to injury, except for the heel growth plate. During foot growth spurts a child's foot bones tend to grow faster than the underlying muscle and tendon structure causing tension and tightness in a child's foot. Since the heel is one of the last parts of a kid's foot to fully ossify, very active children in particular are at risk of developing severe heel pain. This kind of children's heel pain is called Sever's disease. Sever's disease is most common in children who play soccer and basketball, but any child who runs and jumps a lot during play can develop the disorder. Sever's disease is easily prevented by putting children's arch supports into the child's cleats or basketball shoes. Child runners and other very active children should wear a supportive kid's athletic shoe that provides heel and arch support during outdoor play. Other common children's sports injuries that can be prevented with children's therapeutic athletic shoes are knee pain and shin splints. If a child is already exhibiting heel pain symptoms such as limping or walking on their toes; kid's heel cushions, stretches, and icing are appropriate treatment for minor heel pain. Parents are advised to take their children to a podiatrist if the heel pain seems to be chronic since the symptoms of a Sever's disease and a heel fracture are difficult to distinguish.

Please contact Dr. Vail's office to receive additional assistance with your child's foot care needs.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Findlay Pediatricians

Robert Beck
Blanchard Valley Pediatrics
1818 Chapel Dr. Suite D

Jana Doone
Pediatric Hospitalists of Northwest Ohio
1900 S. Main St.

Martin Hanawalt
Pediatric Hospitalists of Northwest Ohio
1900 S. Main St.

Cheryl Huffman
Caughman Health Clinic
1800 N. Blanchard St. Suite 121

Ramalingam Maruthavanan
Pediatric Hospitalists of Northwest Ohio
1900 S. Main St.

Ami Orr
Blanchard Valley Pediatrics
1818 Chapel Dr. Suite D

Andrew Ritz
Blanchard Valley Pediatrics
1818 Chapel Dr. Suite D

Donald Savage, Jr.
Blanchard Valley Pediatrics
1818 Chapel Dr. Suite D

Lynn Taylor
Physicians Plus
3949 N. Main St.

Thomas Wojciechowski
Pediatric Hospitalists of Northwest Ohio
1900 S. Main St.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Learn the Bones of the Feet

KIDS - Amaze your classmates with your knowledge of the bones in your feet! Instead of saying, "My toes are cold," say, "My phalanges are sensitive to the harsh winter weather!"

Children's Feet Tips

Problems noticed at birth will not disappear by themselves. You should not wait until the child begins walking to take care of a problem you've noticed earlier.

Remember that lack of complaint 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 of it.

Walking is the best of all foot exercises, according to podiatrists. They also recommend that walking patterns be carefully observed. Does the child toe in or out, have knock knees, or other gait abnormalities? These problems can be corrected if they are detected early.

Going barefoot is a healthy activity for children under the right conditions. However, walking barefoot on dirty pavements exposes children's feet to the dangers of infection through accidental cuts and to severe contusions, sprains, or fractures. Another potential problem is plantar warts, a condition caused by a virus which invades the sole of the foot through cuts and breaks in the skin. They require protracted treatment and can keep children from school and other activities.

Be careful about applying home remedies to children's feet.

Preparations strong enough to kill certain types of fungus can harm the skin.

(Information provided by The American Podiatric Medical Association -

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Foot Fell Asleep

My foot fell asleep
right inside of my shoe
from sitting around
having nothing to do.
It hadn't drank warm milk
nor tried to count sheep;
it just wasn't busy,
and fell right asleep.

You see, in my shoe
it gets lonely and boring,
which made my foot sleepy,
and soon it was snoring.
My foot snored so loudly
my shoe began flapping.
But it didn't notice --
it kept right on napping!

It slept through the morning
and most of the day,
despite that my other foot
wanted to play.
It took a siesta.
It slumbered inert.
It nodded through dinner.
It dozed through dessert.

Now I'm in my bed
and I've been up all night.
I'm trying to sleep,
although try as I might,
my foot slept all day
(what a foolish mistake!)
now I can't fall asleep
'cause my foot's wide awake!

--Kenn Nesbitt

Sports Activities

Millions of American children participate in team and individual sports, many of them outside the school system, where advice on conditioning and equipment is not always available. Parents should be concerned about children's involvement in sports that require a substantial amount of running and turning, or involve contact. Protective taping of the ankles is often necessary to prevent sprains or fractures. Parents should consider discussing these matters with their family podiatrist if they have children participating in active sports. Sports-related foot and ankle injuries are on the rise as more children participate actively in sports.

To be continued...

(Information provided by The American Podiatric Medical Association -

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Here's how...

You will need:

Foil piepan
Plaster of Paris
Popcicle stick

1. Fill a foil piepan with about three inches of damp sand.
2. Press their foot into the sand to make an impression.
3. Pour plaster of Paris into the footprint and allow to dry.
4. Write your initials and date into the plaster of Paris with a popcicle stick.
5. When dry, the fossils are ready. Remove from the foil piepan and remove sand from print.

Now you have a permanent "picture" of your footprint...fossilprint for years!

(This activity collected from

Growing Up

As a child's feet continue to develop, it may be necessary to change shoe and sock size every few months to allow room for the feet to grow. Although foot problems result mainly from injury, deformity, illness, or hereditary factors, improper footwear can aggravate preexisting conditions. Shoes or other footwear should never be handed down.

The feet of young children are often unstable because of muscle problems which make walking difficult or uncomfortable. A thorough examination by a podiatrist may detect an underlying defect or condition which may require immediate treatment or consultation with another specialist.

The American Podiatric Medical Association has long known of the high incidence of foot defects among the young and recommends foot health examinations for school children on a regular basis.

To be continued...

(Information provided by The American Podiatric Medical Association -

Monday, March 2, 2009


Check out these books (and many more) at the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library!

  • Amazing Animal Feet - Linda Bozzo
  • Let's Look at Feet - Simona Sideri
  • One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab: A Counting by Feet Book - April Pulley Sayre and Jeff Sayre
  • Feet - Dana Meachen Rau
  • Impatient Pamela Asks: Why Are My Feet So Huge? - Mary Koski
  • My Feet - Aliki

Starting to Walk

It is unwise to force a child to walk. When physically and emotionally ready, the child will walk. Comparisons with other children are misleading, since the age for independent walking ranges from 10 to 18 months.

When the child first begins to walk, shoes are not necessary indoors. Allowing the youngster to go barefoot or to wear just socks helps the foot to grow normally and to develop its musculature and strength, as well as the grasping action of toes. Of course, when walking outside or on rough surfaces, babies' feet should be protected in lightweight, flexible footwear made of natural materials.

To be continued...

(Information provided by The American Podiatric Medical Association -

Happy Feet...

Happy Feet...

= Happy Kids...

= Happy Kids...

= Happy Family!

= Happy Family!