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YourFeetNZ- The Podiatrist |Tips for purchasing footwear for school

You remember preparing for your first day of school; the shopping, in particular shoe shopping, and the wonder of a pair of brand new sneakers, shoes or even sandals.  Somehow, the experience is very different when, as a parent, you have to be concerned about size and budget, instead of style and colour as your child!

Since parents tend to take advantage of back to school sales, health experts advise that you have to be careful about which shoes and school bags are bought. Shopping for new school shoes is a chore that parents everywhere share, as they prepare their children for school for the first time, or on their return from holidays

Children spend around 30-45 hours a week in their school shoes, or more than 15,000 hours during their school years, so it’s vital that they’re fitted properly. In the first 11 years of a child’s life, feet may grow through approximately 17 shoe sizes, up until they’re 18 years of age. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to problems in adulthood, such as ingrown toenails, corns and bunions, which may even require surgery later in life.

Important Purchasing Advice

• Always have your child’s feet measured before you buy shoes. Children’s feet grow quickly, so you shouldn’t rely on a previous measurement.

• Opt for new shoes, once financially possible, instead of accepting hand-me-downs. That will help ensure a better fit and avoid spreading germs, such as the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.

• Inspect the heels of your child’s shoes for uneven wear, which may indicate a foot problem.

• Don’t buy shoes that aren’t comfortable. There should be no reason to “break in” a new pair of shoes.

It’s no surprise that kids want to be like other kids and wear what their friends are wearing. Even in pre-school, style is important. Still, from mom and dad’s point of view, there is more to shoes than looking good.

These tips will explain why:

• Shoes need to be flexible and able to sustain extreme activity. They should also provide support and cushioning and be breathable, to allow body heat and moisture to escape.

• However, a bad fit can negate all the benefits of a good shoe, so finding the right size is essential. Since shoe sizes tend to vary by manufacturer, an accurate fit can only be assured once the foot is inside the shoe.

• A tip for making sure that the shoe size fits, is measuring the distance between the second toe and the end of the shoe. The second toe is usually the longest.

• Have your child walk around in the shoes to make sure that they don’t hit the ankle bones or have seams that rub against the foot.

• Though it may seem children quickly outgrow their shoes, buying shoes that are too big isn’t a good idea. A loose fit can cause painful calluses and sores, because there is too much movement in the shoe. On the other hand, shoes that are too small can cause an abnormal gait that can misalign growing bones in the feet.

It may be time to get a new pair of shoes if your child begins to complain about shoes that are uncomfortable; be aware, however, that trend conscious youngsters have been known to “need” new shoes because of what the others kids are wearing. Shoes can put a dent in any household budget, so make sure that the shoes fit when you buy them, and before you buy a bigger pair of shoes.

Buy shoes at the end of the day

While you might decide to head out bright and early to get your child’s shoes fitted, bear in mind that it’s best to go during late afternoon. This is because children’s feet often get a little more swollen by the end of the day. That way, you’ll get school shoes fitted when your child’s feet are at their biggest.

Other things to look out for

While you might usually expect to only think about school shoes and your kids’ feet once a year, here’s a checklist of things to look out for, and see a podiatrist/foot health practitioner if necessary:

• Children complaining of pain in the feet, heel, knees or legs

• Unexplained tripping and falling (if it happens regularly)

• Uneven shoe wear, or one shoe that wears down before the other

• Skin or toenail irritation.

Do share this information with your kids who are old enough to appreciate the advice to minimise peer pressure, and ultimately your stress levels … Happy shopping!

Your feet mirror your general health… cherish them!

There is a great range of summer sandals ideal for school and casual wear available from Scooters.

www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

http://www.scooters.net.nz

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High-heeled shoes a danger

One of the first pieces of advice I give any new runner is in regards to shoes. I tell anyone who’s just starting out to go to a running specific store and to get fitted for a proper running shoe.

Many assume the name brand they got off the shelf at a major sports store is sufficient, but they are not. A properly fitted shoe can make or break a running career. One of the leading causes of running injury is due to improper footwear. Most runners accept this truth about shoes early on. However, one thing we don’t do is focus on the proper footwear when we’re not running.

Most runners fall into the category of wearing expensive shoes while they run, yet walk around in flimsy jandals the rest of the day. Many office professionals spend the majority of their day in dress shoes. They look great, but may be the root cause of your next running injury- especially high heels. Of all the flawed footwear, high heels may be the most risky choice for a runner. Research points to the fact that runners who wear high heels may be at greater risk for foot, knee, or back injury.

High heels are honestly not a great shoe for anyone. They are the number on cause of ingrown toenails, they can lead to lower back pain, hip soreness, osteoarthritis, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, dislocated toes, calluses, joint pain, bunions, and sprained ankles.

When a runner puts on their heels, she’s more likely to experience these problems and then some, as her feet are going through additional strain.
“If you wear heels all day and then I go running you can sometimes feel the bones in your foot stretching out afterwards because they’ve been compressed all day. It often hurts around the balls of my feet and you can notice the changes of the feet and toes from wearing pointy-toed heels.

While running brings its own soreness and possible ailments, the heels just add insult to injury. As running will cause tightness in the legs and calves, wearing heels will cause even more tightness on top of that, potentially leading to injury. Heels can squeeze the toes and cause a neuroma, or pinched nerve, especially in people with flat feet. Running can aggravate a neuroma. Sensing a theme here? Heels hurt the body, running on these hurts will only make it worse.

Many women have just decided to ditch the heels all together. For runners not willing to give up their pretty shoes, just limit your exposure.

Simply put, runners need to be more cautious than the average heel wearer about how often they slip on their high-heeled shoes.

For expert advice on any foot problems, visit The Podiatrist

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

Choose the right shoes

Choosing the right running shoe is an important part of your overall running comfort. It can be the difference between enjoying your run and sustaining long term injury. But how do you choose a shoe?

Surely a running shoe is just a shoe? Not so.

Comfort is important

Comfort and cushioning are important features to consider when buying a shoe. This might sound obvious to you, but, if the shoe feels rigid, too flexible or narrow, too soft or hard, then rather don’t get it. Your first experience doesn’t guarantee later experience, but if it’s not good then, it’s unlikely that it’ll get better over time.

If you’re a first-time buyer, it’s obviously different. You’ll need to try the shoe on and remember that if it’s not perfectly comfortable when you lace it up, then it probably won’t be comfortable after an hour of running.

Flexibility of the shoe, and even its shape, make just any old cross trainers unsuitable. They also tend not to give much support to the arches.

Many of us are lured by the look of shoe, and by the gadgets and marketing. “People want the ‘air’ or the ‘gel’ or any of the array of marketing claims, because they’ve either read about it, or a famous athlete uses the shoe, or they have friends who recommend it.” But there are other factors you need to consider too, such as whether or not you tend to pronate.

Do you pronate?

This involves the rotation of the foot outwards during the landing period.

That means that those who pronate land on the outside of the foot (usually at the heel) and then roll in, over towards the big toe. When this happens too much or too fast, there is believed to be a risk of injury because of the weight that joints have to support.

Many people do find that a stability shoe helps them because it does change the movement of the foot. These are the shoes that have a built up inner portion, so that when the foot lands, it is “blocked” from rotating inwards.

If you do this excessively, then you might be better off in these shoes, whereas people who roll in normally are better off in cushioned shoes.

You must be careful not to choose a heavy shoe that restricts movement of the foot.

If you find you are in some pain in your feet after running, rather see a Podiatrist for expert opinion.

How long will your shoes last?

Generally with shoes, one talks about the mileage of the shoe, and not about the time the shoe lasts, for the obvious reason that some people will run once a week, whereas others run six times a week, and so over six months, the shoe is used completely differently!

Even for mileage, it can be difficult, because it depends so much on the runner. Mass is obviously a key factor – 100kg running 8km is going to wear a shoe differently compared to 65kg running 8km.

Mechanics also affect the shoe, because it wears a shoe in different places. Generally, shoes will last 600km as a minimum, more in some people.

The only way to really gauge is when the midsole starts to get so compacted that it loses all its softness. Or, it gets compacted one side, but not the other, so the shoe starts to “lean”. Or the black rubber outsole wears away.

If you have any foot problems, see The Podiatrist

CHOOSING the right pair of shoes for your child will ensure proper foot growth and bone health.

WALKING is a milestone in every child’s life, and often parents take it into a bragging right, comparing their child’s walking timeline to other kids’. In their minds, the earlier their child takes those tentative first steps, the better parents they are.

Between the ages of 12 and 18 months, children start to take their first steps. Every child is different, and the only way to go about it is to let them take the lead.

Another thing that parents need to be aware of is proper footwear for kids.

First shoes

When children can walk steadily (around 18 months old), they should wear “healthy” shoes with mild arch support.

When buying shoes for kids, parents need to reserve one finger’s spacing (i.e. 8-10mm). Most parents have a tendency to buy shoes that are way bigger than their child’s feet, in the hope that the child will grow into them. As kids’ feet grow fast, it is also one way of reducing the need to replace the shoes every six months. Lee says this should never be done.

Do not buy shoes that are too large. Excessive rubbing against the shoes when walking will lead to callus. Besides, since there is too much space between the shoes and their feet, children will try to hold onto their shoes with toes and this will lead to claw toes in the long term.

Foot problems

There are areas of concern that parents should pay attention to when considering footwear for their child.

Flatfoot is a common one, where the foot arch is flattened or fallen when standing, without the normal curve that it should have.

People with a flatfoot become tired and feel the pain easily when they walk. For serious cases, it will affect their knee joints and backbones.

Flatfoot is inborn or genetically linked in most people.

> Children below the age of four: There is a thick layer of fat beneath their feet covering the foot arch, which makes them look as if they have flatfoot. It can’t be determined yet if they really have flatfoot or not, until the layer of fat disappears gradually. Normally, the foot arch develops its shape between four and six years old.

> Children between four and 13 years old: Starting from the age of four, the layer of fat beneath their feet reduces steadily. Before the age of 14, their bones are still in developmental stage. So children with flatfoot could still be treated by using suitable arch inserts and going for regular exercises and a balanced diet to avoid getting fat. There is still room for improvement and it is possible to prevent long-term problems  reccurring.

> Children aged above 14: Their bones mature after the age of 14. Although at this stage flatfoot is difficult to improve, it is still necessary to use suitable arch inserts and to do regular exercises to minimise long-term problems (caused by flatfoot).

When choosing the right shoes

> Some mothers believe they should look for shoes with arches for children under two. This can, in fact, interfere with their ability to walk.

> Each child has a unique walking pattern, but more than 40% of mothers do not realize this. Most would put their kids in hand-me-down shoes, especially from older siblings or cousins. This should not be encouraged.

Shoes worn by one child over a period of time would be worn in places depending on the walking pattern. When you put the same shoes on another child, who has a different walking pattern, the support and fit would be off. The child would be trying to form to the gait of another child.

> For the best fit, children’s feet need to be measured every two to three months until the age of two as foot growth is rapid during the first two years. After that, have regular checks every four to six months.

> Bones are not fully formed in a child’s foot until age five, therefore the cartilage can be easily influenced by ill-fitting footwear. It should also be noted that the feet grow right into your late teens, therefore your child’s 10th pair of shoes is just as important as the first one.

> Babies’ feet perspire two times more than adults’, so you should always look for breathable material like leather and mesh or anti-microbial linings.

They should opt for footwear with a hard heel counter, mild arch support and different sizes of toe box that are suitable for forefeet fat and thin.

For professional advice or help with a problem, see The Podiatrist.

The highs and lows of stilettos-Could this shoe ruin your health?

Stiletto heels seem to be the unreasonable fashion trend that simply will not go away.

It is no secret that women have been enjoying high heels for a long time. Now that the heels are becoming even higher and thinner, women seem to love them more and more. This trend will never stop.

High fashion

Anybody who is into fashion would wear them.

But why? Don’t they hurt? “Oh, absolutely,”. “They wear them because of how they look.”

Stilettos make a woman look great, according to a lecturer from East StroudsburgUniversity

“They are alluring to men and make your legs appear longer,” she said, warning, though, that women
wearing stilettos should use their abdominal muscles more in order to maintain good posture.

Trendy toes

Stilettos are used in many styles. Some have platforms and others are flat, but the flat ones are more fashionable now. Some have closed toes and some are the strappy sandal types. Shoes with stiletto heels are now even worn for casual wear.

The heels range from about three inches to a towering nine inches or more.

Some people change into them at work and then kick them off when they are sitting at their desks. They put them on only when they have to get up and look wonderful.

A Podiatrist’s view

Stiletto heels are very bad. Anything above a two-inch heel is bad for the feet.

Not only do stilettos change a woman’s posture, but the thinness of the heel affects her stability. With the thinner heel, you are more likely to sprain an ankle.

High heels with platforms are even more dangerous than the stilettos with flat fronts. They are worse for the stability because the front of the foot is not on the ground.

Stilettos can hurt your feet permanently.

Among other things, they can cause hammertoes. This condition causes the toes to contract and stay contracted.

The price of beauty

The shoes could also cause bunions, the bump on the side of the big toe caused by the tightness of the shoe. Once (hammertoes and bunions) form, which could happen in as little as a couple of years, they are there permanently. The stilettos could also cause knee, back and hip problems.

Heels could also cause corns and calluses, toenail problems, a shortening of the Achilles tendon, Haglund’s deformity (inflammation of the bony enlargement on the back of your heel), neuromas (“a neuroma causes a sharp, burning pain on the ball of your foot and stinging or numbness in your toes”), joint pain in the ball of your foot, and stress fractures.

Feet are damaged as a result of the wrong shoes.

To keep feet healthy, people should look for a sneaker-type shoe with plenty of room in the toe.

How do I know when it’s time to get new shoes?

Your feet – Hammer / Mallet Toes

Definition

A hammertoe is a toe that’s curled due to a bend in the middle joint of a toe. Mallet toe is similar, but affects the upper joint of a toe. Otherwise, any differences between hammertoe and mallet toe are subtle.

Both hammertoe and mallet toe are commonly caused by shoes that are too short or heels that are too high. Under these conditions, your toe may be forced against the front of your shoe, resulting in an unnatural bending of your toe and a hammer-like or claw-like appearance.

Relieving the pain and pressure of hammertoe and mallet toe may involve changing your footwear and wearing shoe inserts. If you have a more severe case of hammertoe or mallet toe, you may need surgery to experience relief.