When it comes to buying shoes for your children, there are so many different styles available; it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which one to choose. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your child needs proper foot support during childhood’s critical growth years.
A child’s foot can grow up to about the age of 18, and the most important development happens in the first seven years. Here is a quick look at how fast kids’ feet grow:
— Under 12 months old, every 2 months.
— 12 months to 2.5 years old, every 3 months.
— 2.5 to 4 years old, every 4 months.
— From 4 to 6 years old, every 6 months.
Shoes that do not fit properly can be uncomfortable and unhealthy. That is why it is important to always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes. Every shoe fits differently, so do not buy shoes based solely on the size printed on the shoebox. Make sure your child tries on every shoe and watch them as they walk to make sure they seem comfortable and fit properly.
Shoe Buying Tips When you find shoes that you like, hold them in your hand and examine them. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), experts in foot health and development, recommends you look for the following features:
Flexibility. Typically, the younger the child, the thinner and more flexible the soles should be. The sole should be easily flexible and be able to bend in your hand without effort. It should bend with your child’s toes — where the ball of the foot will be rather than in the middle of the shoe.
Toe room. While your child is standing, you should be able to press about a half inch, roughly a finger’s width, between the longest toe and the front of the shoe. The area of the shoe just below the laces should crease when your baby takes a step.
Materials. The upper part of the shoe should be made of breathable materials such as leather, rather than synthetic materials. The insoles should be cushioned for comfort. Feel around inside the shoe for irregularities in stitching, glue or stapling. Look for a stiff heel cup. Press on both sides of the heel counter. It should not collapse.
To help parents find shoes that fit properly, here are some helpful shoe buying tips:
— Make sure to see a professional trained in fitting shoes for infants, toddlers and young
— Have your child’s feet measured every 2 to 3 months until toddler years, then every 3 to 4
months after that.
— Feet are seldom precisely the same size. Always buy for the larger foot.
— Do not buy shoes that need “breaking in.” Shoes should be comfortable from the
beginning. Observe your child walking around in both shoes for longer than a few
minutes. Then, check each foot to make certain there are no irritation marks.
— Make sure the shoe is not too heavy. A heavy shoe can make your child walk irregularly,
preventing the development of a normal walking pattern.
— If a child complains of foot pain or discomfort, schedule a check-up with you The
Podiatrist who specializes in children’s foot care.
Tips for Buying Kids’ Shoes
— Shoes that do not fit properly can aggravate the feet. Always measure a child’s feet
before buying shoes and fit the shoe to the foot.
— Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably does not
mean it will fit another the same way. In addition, the practice of sharing shoes can
spread fungi like athletes foot and nail fungus.
— Watch for signs of irritation. Redness is a sure sign that a shoe is too tight or too loose. If
your child always wants to remove one or both of his/her shoes, this may be an unspoken
sign that the shoes do not fit properly.
— Examine the heels. When children begin to show in toeing, they may wear through the
heels of their shoes much quicker than outgrowing the shoes themselves. Uneven heel
wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by The Podiatrist.
— Shop for shoes later in the day. Feet tend to swell during the day, so take your children
shoe shopping when their feet are swollen, to ensure they’ll get the proper fit for all day
Since most women are slaves to fashion, paying the price to look good is very costly and painful. Shoe designers design shoes to look good — not necessarily to feel good. So whether you are wearing the latest peep-toe shoe styles, such as peep-toe pumps, sling-back pumps, platforms, booties, wedge pumps, sling-back sandals or flip-flops to kick around in, being able to customize and make your shoes more comfortable is paramount. For those professional women who have to go to trade shows for their work or are in sales and have to stand on their feet for long periods of time on hard, non-forgiving floor surfaces, by the end of the day their feet are screaming. The ultimate goal is to wear footwear without having to bring a spare pair of flats in your bag to save your feet from making you a cripple.
Shoe shapes are different than foot shapes
Fashion footwear that does not fit properly can result in many irritating and painful foot problems, especially for those who are on their feet for long periods of time. A shoe that is worn strictly for fashion reflects how stylish one wants to look at any cost and comfort definitely gets lost in the translation.
There are specific parts of fashion shoes that commonly cause foot problems and are notorious for driving women to the podiatrist’s office for help. The parts in question are the toe box, arch and the heel counter of the shoe. A toe box that is too narrow or shallow can be a major irritant to a foot that has bunion and hammertoe deformities. The lack of adequate support in the arch in a fashion shoes leads to tired legs or feet legs. Women who have narrow heels are challenged trying to find fashion shoes that fit their feet properly.
The reason for all these shoe issues is because “feet come in different sizes and shapes and shoes only come in different sizes.”
Shoes can also cause the formation of corns on the top or in between the toes, the development thick calluses that form on the ball of the foot because of the height or slope of the shoe, and the formation of blisters because of slippage issues in the heel. Repetitive rubbing and friction is the root of the problem and when feet slide around in shoes, skin problems can occur on the tops, bottoms and the heels of feet. Once corns and calluses form, they get thick, becoming too painful and makes walking in shoes more difficult. Making a visit to The Podiatrist is a must to solve that problem.
Shoes can also cause low back pain, calf pain, arch cramps and muscle spasms because of the lack of arch support and the pitch of the shoe which can be very dramatic in some styles. Unfortunately, the arch of the foot was not designed to bend at such acute angles for long periods of time making walking or standing on hard floor surfaces very challenging. The muscles in the calf and arch of the foot eventually fatigue causing them to cry for help!
Customization of shoe wear and tips to treat the problems shoes can cause
It is easy to “walk happily ever after,” because there are many over-the-counter foot products that one can buy to customize those hot, stylish, evil shoes in your shoe wardrobe and make them more comfortable to wear. To prevent irritation on the tops of your toes, line the underneath surface of the toe box with moleskin and it will reduce the friction, rubbing and corn formation. Callus formation on the ball of the foot can be reduced by adding a thin inner sole which should provide a soft friction — free landing with every step. There are over-the-counter liquid medications that say they remove corns or calluses — however, buyer beware because they can do more harm than good. These medications have strong chemicals in them that can be very caustic to the skin.
Arch supports from The Podiatrist that can be placed in the arch of the shoe or sandal are also helpful to prevent foot slippage, take pressure off the ball of the foot and eliminate arch cramps and muscle spasms. They can also keep the foot more stable in a shoe by preventing the arch from collapsing.
Placing moleskin in the lining of the heel counter may also prevent blister formation. If the problem occurs because the shoe leather is not soft enough to conform to the foot, try going to a shoe repair shop and see if they can spray a solution on the leather to soften or stretch it.
Finding a pair of shoes in your closet that will last all day on your feet without making you miserable is often a daunting task. Using these helpful tips can now make your life much easier.
Contact The Podiatrist.
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.
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.
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.