If you’re a parent of young kids like me then you are probably in the race to find a good quality shoe that fits your child before they grow up a size and are in need of a new pair all over again. Sheesh! The wear and tear alone can mean replacement is right around the corner, or perhaps your little’ un is a wallflower who barely scuffs their soles before their big toes are cramped and looking for a way out.
Well, we at East Gosford Podiatry are here to save your children from injury. While we might not be able to slow down the growing pains, perhaps we can give you a few tips in selecting the right shoe for your child.
Problems Associated With Ill-fitting Shoes
A foot, even a young one, has 26 bones and 35 joints, so they can be complex little structures. When we don’t care for them appropriately, we are asking for more problems than we can count with our… ahem, toes.
- Minor foot ailments
Sore spots such as blisters, chaffing and calluses can form due when children wear shoes that are too tight or ill-fitting.
- Falls/ Sports Injury
Shoes that don’t fit well or that are not secured properly on the foot is a major contributor to children tripping, falling and causing sports injuries.
- Foot Deformities
When little feet are crammed into stiff and poorly ventilated footwear for a sustained period of time (e.g. ill- fitting school shoes), children may develop calluses, corns, bunions or hammertoes.
- Gait and Posture
Shoes with a higher heel can have a negative effect on posture and balance, and can influence the way we walk.
- Ingrown Toenails
An ingrown toenail is a painful ailment caused by shoes pinching the corners of a child’s big toe, causing the toenail to bite into and place pressure on the flesh of the toe.
- Nerve Damage
Excess pressure on the foot can cause numbness and tingling and may lead to long term nerve damage.
Ill-fitting footwear can lead to pain in the foot, ankles, knees and hips in later life. This amounts to long term foot care and treatment plans.
Okay, so finding your kids another pair of shoes doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. Not compared to the possible podiatry visits and specialist bills that list conjured up. So what do we look for in a well fitted shoe?
First, Consider The Age Of Your Child
For the developing feet of infants shoes are not really necessary or beneficial. It is better for babies to learn to walk on bare feet than with shoes. This allows them to experience the sensory learning through their feet which is important for future foot development.
Toddlers may need protection for their feet. These should be breathable and flexible enough for little legs learning to walk.
What to Look For:
Materials – look for shoes made from natural materials and avoid synthetics. Leather, suede and canvas are all good examples of breathable materials.
Support – find a shoe that offers support to the foot without being too stiff. As a rule, shoes should be snug around the heel and midfoot while giving the toes ample room to move.
Tread – soles don’t need to be 4×4 monster truck style, but having a decent grip keeps your kids firmly rooted to the ground. Make sure the soles can bend easily in your hands.
It is recommended that you have a professional check and measure your child’s feet every three to six months so that you aren’t wasting money on shoes that don’t fit or diagnosis and treatment of conditions that arise.
As children run about their feet swell up and expand, so the best time to try on new shoes is in the afternoon. Have your child stand up and first check the heel – there should be enough room to fit your pinky (finger not toe!). A thumb width is what space you are looking for between the longest toe and tip of the shoe.
The best podiatrists on the Central Coast love it when you put your best foot forward!