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School shoes are the bane of my life, my son needs very robust shoes that stand up to school payground football, and my daughter has a very wide forefoot but narrow heel. Making sure they have shoes which are fit for purpose is really important as I know that if I get it wrong now they will struggle with problems in the future either in their feet, or possibly in their ankles, knees or hips.
Children can spend over 30 hours a week in their school shoes, so choosing the right ones are important for their foot health as well as their joints. Follow the tips below to ensure the shoes you choose are right for your kids
Foot Comfort, Support and Flexibility Children's feet need to be measured regularly, they will change up to 2 sizes a year in the first year in school and normally 1 size each year after this. Ill fitting shoes will lead to sores and blisters leading to a change in walking patterns, which in turn can lead to a change in posture and possibly a future of knee, hip or back pain.
Comfortable shoes will allow children's feet to grow healthily if measured properly. They should offer support to the foot particularly around the arch, and flexibility in the soles around the ball of the foot to allow plenty of running, jumping and clambering around.
Foot Hygiene We all get sweaty feet, but to ensure that feet stay healthy and don't get fungal infections it is best to choose shoes made from natural products such as leather. This will ensure that feet can breathe properly whilst offering water resistance (although very few shoes can stand up to children jumping in muddy puddles).
As children spend 6-7 hours a day in their school shoes, it is important that they change out of them once home, and if possible spend time without any shoes or socks on to allow their feet to function normally and to breathe.
Tips to choosing the right shoes
- Choose a shop who offers measuring
- Shoes should have a
- Firm heel cup which hold the foot straight and doesn't allow it to lean inwards or outwards
- Cushioning at the back of heel will help to hold the shoe on and minimise the need to "break the shoe in".
- A flexible sole to allow the shoe to bend as the child plays and walks.
- Arch support particularly for younger children to avoid flat feet.
- A fastening which holds the foot in the shoe. This stops the foot sliding forward and the toes clawing to hold the shoe on.
- Velcro is easy for younger children to use and allows the shoes to be be done up snuggly.
- Buckles are harder to fit and have a few limited positions that they can be done up in
- Laces can be very tricky for younger children, and requiring the help of adults in school to do them up (teachers will thank you for using velcro rather than laces!). In addition when children first learn to tie shoe laces they are unlikely to be able to do them up tightly enough to keep the shoes on securely.
- Choose natural materials to minimise smelly, sweaty feet and the possibility of fungal infections.
Shoes to avoid
- Ballet Pumps - they are too flat and as they don't offer enough support children clench their toes.
- High Heels - these force the weight of the child on their toes, causing the arches across the front of the feet to collapse.
- Slip ons - allow feet to slip forward causing pressure on the toes.
- Pointed toes - these can compress the joints in the toes leading to pain and swelling in the joints, and possibly leading to longer term problems such as bunions and hammer toes when older.
Did you know Osteopaths treat aches and pains related to your legs and feet?
Feet can be very painful, but can be resolved through gentle treatment and exercise. It may be coming from an injury, a growth problem or due to their shoes. If your children are complaining of pain in their feet, legs or back then give me a call on 07474521329 or book an appointment
to see how I can help.
I have some exercises to help in the meantime if you or your children have pain. feet exercises