Random Health Fact:

Parents Beware! Tight Socks Can Damage Your Child's Legs

In a recent study in the British Journal of Dermatology, as well as a study done at Washington University, researchers have discovered that many children have been scarred by wearing tight socks even just once. These "sock-band" lines are initially red markings that happen when the elastic band is too tight around the child's ankle or leg. While the redness will go away in a few hours, the raised welt that is left can be permanent, even after just a few hours of wearing socks that are too tight.

The study conducted by Washington University also found a small association with the continual usage of tight socks and the banding being associated with some limb defects, but they do note that this potential link needs further study. Because this has only recently been noticed by parents, doctors and researchers; no one yet knows if the welts will last the entire life of the child, or if there are any other negative effects, other than just cosmetic ones.

Doctors recommend that you buy socks that are made for the size of the child's feet or perhaps a little bigger and wash them before wearing. This is recommended so that shrinkage will occur immediately and the parent will be able to tell within 5 minutes if the socks are too tight. If after 5 minutes there are marks on the child's ankles or legs, immediately remove the socks and either stretch them out until they are no longer tight, or change the socks to a larger pair.

Parents often do not know the actual size of their child's feet, and sometimes think their child's feet are smaller than they really are. You need to consider the height and width of the foot as well, especially if you have a larger sized baby! A professional can measure your child's feet and even if they are too young to wear shoes, you will at least know what size sock to purchase.

Also a word of warning, the popular soft shoe being sold for infants has elastic around the top of the ankle and often the elastic is very tight in comparison to the size needed for the length of the foot. This will result in the same banding problem on the top of the baby's ankle. If in doubt buy socks, or soft slip on shoes one size large, they will grow into them and you will avoid this banding that may cause permanent damage to your child's feet.

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