It is estimated that 8 out of 10 children who have trouble with their feet do so on account of shoes that either fit incorrectly or aren’t right for an activity being performed. At Foot Specialists of Long Island, we know that you do not want your son or daughter to experience foot and ankle pain. Your first step in preventing child foot issues is to start with education in children’s shoes, and we are here to help!
A Proper Fit
No matter the age, a pair of shoes that does not fit properly can lead to a host of issues, including blisters, corns, calluses, and ingrown nails. If your child is older and participates in athletic competition or practices, an ill-fitting sports shoe can lead to the same issues, along with joint, soft tissue, and other common foot and ankle problems.
A proper fit for children’s shoes means that there is roughly a thumb’s width between the longest toe and the front. Width is important, and footwear should not be too tight through the arch or restrictive in the front. In the back, you should be able to insert a pinky finger between the heel and the back of the shoe, but it should only go in up to the first knuckle.
It is important to note that shoes need to fit from the first time they are put on a child’s feet. They should not be expected to have a “breaking in” period, nor should they be excessively large with the mindset that he or she will “grow into them.” If a pair does not fit correctly, simply try the next size up or down.
Shoes for Athletic Participation
As we look at shoes that children wear for athletic participation, it is best to start with the same rules of fit that apply to any shoes. Footwear needs to provide room in the front so that toes are not crowded and firmly cradle the heel in the back. They should hold the foot snuggly when laced up. In addition to fit, athletic shoes should be appropriate for the activity being performed. Basketball shoes should be worn for basketball, running shoes for running, etc.
When to Replace Footwear
A clear sign that a pair of shoes needs to be replaced is that they no longer fit your child. When the toes no longer have room in front or on the sides, it is time to get a new pair to prevent conditions like ingrown nails and blisters from developing. In addition to fit, shoes only provide a finite amount of cushioning and arch support. Inspect your child’s footwear periodically to ensure that his or her feet are still being properly supported.
They say that children grow “like weeds.” This might not be a particularly pleasant notion, but it conveys the idea that young ones are constantly growing as their bodies develop. Given their role as the stabilizing base for the rest of the body, feet grow rapidly as well. It may seem expensive to replace shoes often, which can lead to the temptation to cut corners by using hand-me-down footwear.
There are two particular areas of concern with this practice. First, shoes that have already been worn extensively do not offer the levels of support and cushioning that they should. Second, some experts point to the fact that the compressed cushioning on the inside of shoes has likely been molded to another person’s feet. This can impact the way a pair of shoes fits your child.
That said, if a son or daughter borrows a pair for a special occasion, it will likely not present an issue.
Assistance with Children’s Shoes in Nassau County, NY
Foot Specialists of Long Island is proud to be your source of child foot care, including providing advice and answering questions about choosing shoes for them. Whenever your young ones, or not-so-young ones, suffer from foot and ankle pain, we are here to help. Simply contact our Massapequa, NY office online or give us a call at (516) 804-9038 to schedule an appointment. We will provide effective treatment while using the same gentle, caring manner we know that you would give your child!