As adults, many of us suffer from aching feet and foot related problems. This may have stemmed from having the wrong type of shoes when we were younger. As such, we learn from our mistakes and make more informed choices when purchasing shoes. A common theme that podiatrists see on a day to day basis is the practice of buying ill-fitting shoes. To ensure the health of your child’s feet, it is essential that the right shoes are purchased for each stage of their growth. It is important to note that a child will grow and have many different shoes sizes until they are the age of about 18 years old!
Owning a pair of shoes that are not correctly fitted can lead to foot related problems. These include ingrown toenails, heel pain, corns, calluses and bunions, which may need further treatment later in life. By investing in the right pair of school shoes, parents will notice a vast difference in their child’s foot health and will save money in the long term.
Here are some tips for fitting schools shoes:
- Ensure both of your child’s feet are measured to ensure the correct size is chosen
- Check for any heavy wear patterns on your child’s shoe
- Ensure you choose shoes with the correct length and width to allow for toe movement. Narrow shoes may lead to toe clawing and bunions, and shoes that are far too big may lead to dragging of the outer sole, increased wear marks and trips and falls. The toes should be able to wiggle and not bulge.
- Think about the weight of the shoes. Heavy shoes may make your children’s feet more tired after a long day at school.
- A firm heel counter, which does not collapse when pushed against with your thumb as a firm heel counter assists with ankle stability,
- It is strongly advised that your children untie their laces, strap or buckle before slipping on the school to prevent damage to the heel counter
- Flexibility over the ball of the foot (forefoot) but stable mid-sole allow your child’s toe to bend when walking, jumping and running.
- A removable insole if your child needs orthotics. It is important to bring their orthotics during shoe fittings to see if there is enough space in the shoes.
- Heel height should be levelled from heel to toe to prevent soft tissue restriction of the legs.
- Shoe shank is usually fibre-glass, nylon, or steel to improve foot stability. This feature is not visible since it is inside the mid/rear sole.
There are many things that you should look out for when inspecting your children’s feet. We have listed a few points for you below:
- Pain in the feet, legs, knees and hips
- Heel pain
- Flat feet
- Tired feet
- In toeing and out toeing
- Regular trips and falls
- Skin and nail irritations
- Irregular wear of shoes between left and right outer sole
We suggest to see a podiatrist if you have any concerns or questions about your child’s foot development.