By Kate Caetano, Podiatrist, Advance Wellness

It’s hard to miss the ‘Back to school’ signage everywhere and even though your kids might be in denial about the holidays ending, it’s time for parents to think about school shoes now the school year is approaching.

Our children spend more than 30 hours a week at school, doing a wide range of different activities in their school shoes, so making sure they are comfortable and well-fitted can help keep them ready for action and avoid foot problems down the track.

Kids grow so fast, and their feet can increase a shoe size every three to four months. So the shoes we squeeze their feet into, can either encourage or hinder that development.

Reducing compression forces from the shape of the footwear, increasing movement with safe flexibility and correct sizing is essential for supporting foot function and development. Even though all children are individuals, some things are true for all. When buying shoes for our children, important things to consider are:

  • As your child grows, their feet change. Make sure they have adequate support and cushion. Sandals and shoes that are hard or thinned soled will put undue stress on the feet.
  • Have your child measured and fitted at a store with trained staff such as Smith’s Sport Shoes. This will ensure the correct length and width are worn.
  • Don’t buy shoes more than one size larger than their current foot size. If the foot is sliding around in the shoe, this will affect their walking posture and stability. Allowing for the extra room for growth is fine, but keep to the thumb width rule.
  • Avoid heavy or overly flexible shoes as these are tripping hazards and again will affect walking posture.
  • If your child complains of pain or you are unsure of their walking or running development, it is important to have your child’s gait and feet evaluated by a podiatrist.

At Advance we can educate parents on appropriate footwear, the discussion around your child’s development and management options if treatment is required.

If you have any questions or would like further information regarding your child’s feet, posture and footwear please contact us on 834 9901 or book online at www.advancewellness.nz to make a podiatry appointment.

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