For parents of school age children, new school shoes are almost always on the agenda in the lead up to the new school year.
As parents of growing children, all too often we try to push the limits of tired shoes through the final weeks of the school year, not really wanting to invest in new shoes in case their feet grow over the Christmas break. They then spend the next two months in thongs or barefoot and with the start of school fast approaching, only then do we start to think about what shoes they will wear on day one.
As a parent, I understand that this time of year is hectic in most households with school aged children. The kids are tired as they are adjusting to their new school routine and amongst the chaos that is back to school, too often I see parents miss vital signs that their kids need the help of a podiatrist. So here is a checklist you might find useful.
Choosing Children’s School & Sports Shoes
Kids feet do grow!
Through the ages for five to 12 years old, we know the feet grow rapidly in size, and often multiple sizes in a very short period of time. Feet grow so much quicker in length than the body does in height. It is important that you check the length of your children’s shoes regularly. A good guide is half to one full thumb width from the end of the big toe to the end of the shoe.
Types of Children’s Shoes
The type of shoes our kids wear are important.
Although many schools mandate a particular type fo shoe to be worn with the uniform, this type of shoe is often not the issue. Rather the shoes our kids wear for sport and PE are more important. These are the shoes that are worn when the forces acting on the body are highest, and we need them to provide our kids feet protection and stability.
3 Tips for Children’s Shoe
- Where possible, avoid the ‘one shoe for all sports’ mindset. Yes we all have a budget, but too often we see kids come into the clinic with pain either because of the incorrect shoe for their sport (think unstable running shoe worn in netball) or perhaps worse, a stiff netball shoe for PE.
Generally, the foot needs to bend at the toes (but be stable through the mid-foot) to allow for proper function. Any shoe that stops these movements or stiffens the foot increases the forces acting on the foot and ankle, and can potentially lead to pain.
- You don’t always need the most expensive shoe on the wall! Despite recommendations to the contrary, an entry level sports shoe from any of the major brands (think ASICS, Brooks, New Balance, Adidas, NIKE) is often sufficient for kids. This type of model is often more durable too!
- Get fitted properly. With kids feet growing so quickly, it is important you get fitted properly in terms of both length and width. Don’t settle for what shoe is in stock, what’s on sale or the shoe with the best colour. Prioritise your kid’s feet and get expert advise.
Pain is Not Normal
If your child is experiencing pain, please reach out to us. We can help and it’s often a quick, easy and cost-effective fix. Don’t ignore your kid’s complaints thinking merely they are back at school and it will settle.
This time of year we see so many cases of growing pains. We also know that these days kids are really active. They participate in a lot of sport and have lots of training. There load is huge!
Kids may be active over the Christmas holidays but they aren’t running around with their friends necessarily every day or engaged in regular sport. This poses a threat for a flare up and overuse of muscles which can cause joint pain.
So in closing…
This is the time of year when our kids are quite vulnerable to developing foot, ankle and lower leg pain. To help, ensure they are in the right shoe to provide support and protection, especially when playing sport. And if pain pops up, ensure you get it checked out. We are always here to help!