With back-to-school season upon us, it’s time to purchase new backpacks, school supplies, and, most importantly, shoes. Before you bring your family shopping, here are a few guidelines for making smart shoe choices to help prevent or minimize foot problems.
1. Shoes should fit. The best trick for buying shoes that fit is at the tip of your finger, quite literally. Purchase a size that is about a finger’s width from the end of the shoe to the tip of your child’s big toe. Children’s feet can grow up to two sizes in six months, so account for some growth when buying shoes, but don’t use it as an excuse to purchase shoes that are too big. Oversized shoes can cause your child’s foot to slide forward, putting extra pressure on their toes.
On the contrary, shoes that are too tight can cause blisters, corns, and calluses, or ingrown toenails that may become infected. If you notice your child is in pain, their toe is red, or fluid is draining from the nail area, give us a call, and we can provide you with treatment options.
2. Shoes wear out. Over time, shoes lose their shock absorption, especially if you have busy kids! Inspect both new and old shoes to ensure they provide proper cushioning and arch support. Worn-out shoes can increase the risk of heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, and even ankle sprains and stress fractures.
If you notice wear around the edges of the sole, it’s time to replace your child’s shoes. Also, make sure the toe area of your child’s shoe doesn’t flex easily and that the shoe doesn’t bend in the middle of the sole. These are two signs that it’s time to purchase new shoes before foot injuries occur.
3. Children with flat feet need additional shoe requirements. If your child has flat feet, purchase shoes with a wide toe box (a shoe’s front portion), maximum arch support, and shock absorption. The best shoe style for flat feet is Oxford with lace-ups and enough depth for orthotic inserts, if necessary.
Follow these guidelines and your kid’s school year will be one step closer to a comfortable start! If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re here to help with your family’s foot care needs.