I spend a lot of time talking to adults about feet and shoes, and the conversation naturally drifts onto their children’s shoes.
For years, we have been given advice from shoe manufacturers and retailers, coaches, friends, parents and grannies about the ‘right’ shoe for children.
Invariably, especially if you are of a certain age, you would have been told that solid, supportive shoes are best. However, that advice needs to be reviewed.
The human foot contains three arches, 26 bones, 33 joints, over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments and thousands of nerve endings, and can tolerate impacts more than three times greater than your body weight. When you walk and run, it is your foot that absorbs the impact, stops you from collapsing, and pushes you forwards. As Leonardo da Vinci said ‘the human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art’.
What are the differences between a young child’s foot and leg against your own? The next time you see a toddler, have a look at the shape of her feet. You’ll notice that they are almost triangular: narrow at the heel, and widest at the toes. Compare that to your own. I bet they are more diamond shaped, with the widest part across the base of your toes, narrowing in to the tips. Now think about the shape of your shoes, most shoes are widest at the base of the toes, narrowing to a point at the front.
Also, watch the way small children can squat, with their bum almost resting on their heels, and stay there for as long as they like. Try to do that yourself without lifting your heels, and chances are you’ll only make it halfway down, or fall backwards. What is the significance of this?
Well, most shoes these days have a heel, even kids shoes. In fact the heel in children’s shoes is, relatively speaking, much bigger than a heel in adults’ shoes. Think about it. A 2cm heel in a shoe that is only 15cm long creates a much bigger angle than in one that is 25cm. Just as if you were to wear high heels all day your calf muscles would get tight, so too will a child’s. Over-tight calf muscles stop you from being able to squat fully by reducing your ankle movement.
When you have a raised heel in your shoe, it pushes your toes hard into the toe-box. If that toe-box is narrow, the toes will get squashed together. What happens to women who wear high heels all the time? Bunions.
Now, did you know that the bones in your child’s feet don’t fully harden until their late teens? This means that over-tight shoes in childhood have the effect of deforming the shape of the foot from the outset.
Research has shown that shoes also affect the gait of children. With shoes, children walk faster by taking longer steps with greater ankle and knee movement, and less foot movement. When running, shoes encourage children to land on their heels and spend more time on the ground on each stride. Whilst not showing a definite cause, Harvard University research has shown that runners who land on their heels have twice the injury rate of runners who land on their forefoot.
A review of children’s shoes and gait, published in the journal Pediatrics outlined the following factors: optimum foot development happens while barefoot; stiff and compressive footwear may cause deformity, weakness and loss of mobility in the foot; the term ‘corrective shoes’ is a misnomer, and; shoe selection for children should be based on a barefoot model.
What does all this mean for parents when looking for shoes? Well, the roomier, flatter and more flexible, the better. Essentially, the closer the shoe is to not wearing shoes at all, the less it will affect your child’s foot development. Better still, around the house and when the weather is good enough, let them go barefoot: their feet will get stronger and they’ll love it!
For all your foot problems, visit The Podiatrist
Corns and calluses can be quite painful.
The chances are, you will, at some point in your life, experience corns or calluses on your feet. Sometimes a little extra scraping with a pumice stone, or even a careful slicing with a razor blade or similar sharp implement, during a day at the spa may suffice. But are those individuals really knowledgeable about your feet and health and safety issues?
Seeing The Podiatrist to remove painful corns and calluses safely with sterile instruments and medical knowledge is crucial. Under no circumstances should you attempt to cut the corn or callus yourself. You could make it more painful, and it might become infected. You can, occasionally, use a pumice stone or foot file to rub down skin that is getting thick.
Typical symptoms include:
- Thickening of the skin
- A hardened, raised bump or pit in the skin
- Pain with pressure over skin irritations
Corns and calluses are annoying and potentially painful skin thickenings that form in areas of excessive pressure. A callus is often a flattened area of thick skin, while a corn is a thick, localized area that usually has a circular shape.
People of all ages can be affected, but they are particularly common in those over age 65. Corns and calluses have been shown to affect 20 to 65 per cent of people in this age range.
Podiatrists can also measure and fit people with custom-made orthotic devices to redistribute the weight on their feet while they walk so that pressure from the foot bones don’t focus on their corns. Off-the-shelf cushioned insoles are one-size-fits-all and may not be as effective.
Calluses and corns can often be prevented by reducing or eliminating the circumstances that lead to increased pressure at specific points on the feet.
Discuss your options with The Podiatrist, the professional foot care experts.
If you or a family member is experiencing any unusual sensations or symptoms with your feet, perhaps it’s time to seek professional help and book a consultation for a thorough examination, diagnosis and possible treatment.
Good luck to all those running on Sunday.
Keep hydrated and warm and enjoy!
Good Luck to all those running this weekend.
Drink plenty of fluids and enjoy the view.
Many people with bunions suffer from discomfort and pain from the constant irritation, rubbing, and friction of the enlargement against shoes. The skin over the toe becomes red and tender. Because this joint flexes with every step, the bigger the bunion gets, the more it hurts to walk. Over time, bursitis or arthritis may set in, the skin on the bottom of the foot may become thicker, and everyday walking may become difficult—all contributing to chronic pain.
Wearing shoes that are too tight is the leading cause of bunions. Bunions are not hereditary, but they do tend to run in families, usually because of a faulty foot structure.
Foot injuries, neuromuscular problems, flat feet, and pronated feet can contribute to their formation. It is estimated that bunions occur in 33 percent of the population in Western countries.
Treatment for Bunions
Because they are bone deformities, bunions do not resolve by themselves. The goal for bunion treatment is twofold: first, to relieve the pressure and pain caused by irritations, and second to stop any progressive growth of the enlargement.
Commonly used methods for reducing pressure and pain caused by bunions include:
Protective padding, often made from felt material, to eliminate the friction against shoes and help alleviate inflammation and skin problems.
Removal of corns and calluses on the foot.
Changing to carefully fitted footwear designed to accommodate the bunion and not contribute toward its growth.
Orthotic devices—both over-the-counter and custom made—to help stabilize the joint and place the foot in the correct position for walking and standing.
Exercises to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness or arthritis.
Splints for nighttime wear to help the toes and joint align properly. This is often recommended for adolescents with bunions, because their bone development may still be adaptable.
Depending on the size of the enlargement, misalignment of the toe, and pain experienced, conservative treatments may not be adequate to prevent progressive damage from bunions. In these cases, bunion surgery, known as a bunionectomy, may be advised to remove the bunion and realign the toe.
If you have any foot problems, contact The Podiatrist.
With Spring upon us, and the weather becoming ideal for outdoor activities, many people are able to get outside and enjoy more of their activities such as walking or running.
People enjoy walking or running for a number of reasons. For many, it’s a simple form of exercise. For some, it’s about ‘the freedom of the road’ and ‘being one with nature’, while others find it an effective way to decrease stress.
Walking or running helps condition the body and improve blood circulation. Regular walking is associated with a healthier heart and a greater sense of well-being. For those who like to run, the right running technique combined with appropriate footwear helps minimize injuries.
If you plan on stepping outside to walk or run, here are a few things to consider:
- The right degree of flexion in your knees and elbows is important to reduce strain on your joints.
- Posture is important. In fact, your entire technique is dependent upon your posture for efficiency and safety.
- Having the appropriate range of motion helps minimize injuries and improve running technique.
- Maintaining symmetrical stride length is an important aspect of efficiency and injury prevention.
- Proper rhythm, or cadence, will help you to minimize injury by eliminating unnecessary overuse of your muscles.
- Coordination between your upper and lower body is an important aspect of running technique.
Each of these components plays a vital role in running technique. As you progress with each component, expect an improvement in your strength, efficiency, distance and possibly speed.
The best thing for you to do right now is to contact The Podiatrist and ask for an evaluation of your movement patterns before you start a walking or running program.
We can help you plan ahead. We can also create a rehabilitation program if you are currently experiencing any discomfort while walking or running. Your body deserves the right kind of care, and we can help you.
People who have just been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes might not know that diabetes could affect every body part, even a their feet.
Some are asking the question, “How can diabetes affect my feet?” Diabetes can affect a person’s feet by causing nerve damage and poor blood flow if a person’s blood sugar gets too high. This can lead to serious foot problems.
Nerve damage can cause loss of feeling in the feet. You may not feel pain, heat, or cold in your legs and feet. You may not feel a pebble inside your sock that is causing a sore that could become infected. You may not feel a blister caused by poorly fitting shoes. Damaged nerves may stop sending signals, or they may send signals too slowly or at the wrong times. Nerve damage can also cause pain and lead to foot deformities, or changes in the muscles, bones, and shape of your feet.
There are some common foot problems that diabetics should watch out for.
These things include corns, calluses, blisters, ingrown toenails, bunions, plantar warts, hammertoes, dry and cracked skin, athlete’s foot, fungal infection, or Charcot’s foot, a problem in which the joints and soft tissue in your foot are destroyed.
In order to take care of your feet, diabetics should see The Podiatrist at least once a year for a foot exam, or more often if they have foot problems. They should also keep their blood glucose numbers as close to their target as possible. Feet should be checked every day for cuts, sores, blisters, redness, calluses, infected toenails, or other problems. A person could have serious foot problems, even though they feel no pain.
Make a booking with The Podiatrist if you have any concerns.
Just part of growing up is the sign of a problem—managing children’s health and is complicated for parents, who often struggle to know which signs and symptoms are temporary and those that point to more serious concerns.
While many pediatric foot problems resolve themselves with growth and time, there are clear signs that tell parents when their children need medical help
Common pediatric foot problems can range from pediatric flat foot, toe walking, in-toeing, and flat or high arches to tarsal coalitions and extra bone growth. While these conditions and their treatments are different, they share some common signs that show parents there is a problem that needs addressing by The Podiatrist.
- Pain, swelling and redness that does not subside
- Development of thick calluses in one area of the foot
- Problems with the way your child walks (gait)
- Shins or thighbones that appear to turn inward
- Ankles that are weak or easily give out
Checking a child’s foot health is just as important as any other examination.
We need to examine and assess to ensure these conditions do not affect a child’s overall growth and development.
There are a variety of treatment options for these conditions that parents can evaluate in partnership with The Podiatrist- such as shoe modifications, orthotic devices and physiotherapy.
The Podiatrist can advise parents on which treatment offers the best long-term prognosis for their children.
For all your foot problems, contact The Podiatrist.