The development of a child’s foot and lower limb is critical to ensure that they are able to enjoy a happy, healthy and active adult life. Kids feet and legs develop very rapidly, and it can be difficult for parents to know what is normal, and what isn’t. The growing foot needs special care as the bones are predominantly cartilage, and as such they cannot be considered “small adults”. The start of the new school year often means that new school shoes are necessary. Here is a quick overview of a child foot and some tips on getting fitted for good quality shoes for your child this year.
Painful legs and feet are common amongst children and adolescents, however it is by no means normal. Foot pain should be investigated if symptoms persist for 48 hours or more, if there is associated falling or tripping, noticeable differences between the feet and legs or withdrawal from sports and activity. Some of the more common areas of concern for parents include flat feet, in-toeing or out-towing, bowed legs, delayed crawling or walking, ingrown toenails, plantar warts and skin rashes.
There are specific features that quality shoes provide, and improper footwear can aggravate existing conditions. Be watchful for signs of irritation, redness and or blistering that may be caused from shoes that are too big or small. Examine the heels of the shoe for asymmetry. Uneven wear could be a sign of something more complicated.
When buying shoes consider these guidelines:
- Take your child shoe shopping and involve them in their foot health.
- Shop for shoes later in the day as feet can swell.
- Shoes should feel comfortable immediately. There is no need to “break them in”.
- Buy shoes for the longer foot, feet are seldom the exact same size have the feet measured when standing.
- Try them on with the same sock that they will be wearing them in.
- Get fitted by someone that is knowledgeable and trained.
It is important to have your child’s feet evaluated by a podiatrist every year from around the age of three. A podiatrist can educate parents on appropriate footwear and normal development to provide peace of mind and management options if treatment is required. Book your child’s annual foot check-up today, to keep them running tomorrow.