Tips for keeping our kids feet healthy
Alas the countdown back to school has begun, it's time to start thinking about the uniform, the pencil case lunch boxes and of course the shoes. Our kids spend over 1500 hours running, jumping, playing and commuting in their school shoes. In these formative years, shoes have an essential role to play in a child’s physical and social development. A poorly designed or ill-fitting shoe multiplied by 1500 hours in a school year can contribute to the onset of pain, deformity, tripping, and fatigue, which can in turn lead to disengagement from sport, activity, lunchtime games and social events.
We spoke to Trent Salkavich, a skilled sports podiatrist based at Sports Podiatry, who told us that in clinic they receive a number of questions regarding how best to look after children's feet to ensure they grow up strong and healthy. Since kids are always moving and constantly growing, it isn’t unusual for them to develop foot problems, especially if they are wearing shoes that don’t fit correctly or fail to provide the necessary support and cushioning.
Below are Trent's top tips for keeping kids feet healthy;
1/ Barefoot indoors and protection outdoors; In safe environments it is encouraged to let your children roam without shoes. This will assist in developing intrinsic foot strength, balance and power. When outside it is encouraged to wear a well fitted, wide toe box, cushioned shoe. Bones of the adolescent foot are like clay and harden between the ages of 12-14, an ill fitting shoe can cause considerable life long deformity - take the time to have your young ones shoes fitted professionally.
2/ Encourage sock wearing from an early age, socks provide fantastic protection between a shoe and a foot. They also act as a sponge absorbing sweat, control bacterial growth and protect skin against abrasions and of course blisters. It's always a good idea to purchase fresh pairs of socks with new school shoes to assist the wearing-in process. Bring your child's uniform issued school socks or stockings to your Trybe fitting appointment.
3/ On average, your babies feet grow two to three sizes in their first year, then two sizes until they start school, and one size until they're in their late teens. But, of course, every child is different, so it's important to get their shoes checked and feet measured regularly by trained fitters. At sportspodiatrists.com.au we encourage children to purchase their shoes no longer than 6 weeks out from the start of school. This will ensure an appropriate fit minimising foot injury risk.
4/ We advise parents to have your child's foot professionally measured in store every 6 months, here at The Trybe you can visit our FIT specialists instore to help keep on top of growing feet. The first fitting is often as school starts for the year and another is encouraged just as the winter uniform kicks in. A shoe that is too small in length or width for a growing foot can have significant long term health consequences. Here at Trybe twice a year professional foot/shoe checks are encouraged.