January 22, 2017

School shoes- What to look for and how to maximise your child’s foot health

As children across the Sunshine Coast prepare for the coming school year, Buderim Podiatry Centre is urging parents to take special care when choosing school shoes.

According to podiatrist Ms Ainslie Davies, many adult foot problems have their origins in childhood.   ” The shoes children wear can affect their feet for life.  By the age of 12 a child’s feet will measure around 90% of its adult size, so shoes must be chosen in consideration of the enormous growth spurt preceding this time,” she said.

Ainslie’s best advice for parents is to ensure that shoes offer the room and support a child needs to develop a well aligned foot and gait (stride) pattern.

“School shoes which are too big, or too tight can speed up inherited problems, or contribute to the creation of other foot problems, such as ingrown toenails, corns and  hammer toes.  Bunions, which are often an inherited condition, can be exacerbated by ill-fitting shoes,” she said.

While back-to-school budgets can be tight and even though children often grow out of their shoes before they show any signs of wear, Ainslie warns of handing shoes down from one child to the next.  “The problem with secondhand shoes is that the original owner wears-in a particular gait pattern which can be detrimental to the next child who has their own unique foot growth and walking pattern,” she said.