The back to school buzz is in the air! Now is the time, many folks are gearing up to hit the stores to stock up on notebooks and pens and shop for this years latest fashions to start their child’s school year off right! But do you know which article of clothing is probably the most critical to your child’s health? Well, we’ll give you a hint…it starts at their foundation. Yes, their foundation of health. What I’m talking about is their feet. That’s right, their shoes. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, well-fitting shoes not only lower the risk of of foot and ankle injuries in kids, proper fitting shoe gear also encourages physical activity, helping to reduce the likelihood of childhood obesity. Foot health is directly related to overall health, no matter what your age. Think about it, if you’re feet hurt, do you feel like being active or feel like participating in any activities? If you’re saying, “no”, well, the same thing goes for your child and they’re probably less likely to say something about it or it might just be shrugged off as just “growing pains”. Remember, foot pain is never normal. With childhood obesity considered an epidemic today, it’s vital that you take the time during this busy back-to-school shopping season to select the right shoe that’s going to fit your child’s foot properly but also, and this is a key point, give them good support. This is one of the easiest ways to keep a child pain-free and healthy. Now, while your child certainly may have a say about what style of shoes they want, back to school shoe shopping certainly is not child’s play. Parents should consider several important factors before buying new shoes this season. “ABC’s Of Buying Back To School Shoes”:
A.) Perform the “1,2,3 Test” before allowing your child to try it on. First, simply, squeeze the back of the shoe’s heel and be sure it does not collapse under the pressure. Second, grab the front of the shoe (toe box) and make sure that the shoe bends where your child’s toes would naturally bend in the shoe. It shouldn’t be too stiff. Third, try twisting the shoe. Grab the shoe at both ends and try to gently twist. It should be rigid across the middle and never twist in that area; it should be rigid. If the shoe you’re looking at fails any one of these three steps, put it back on the shelf and walk away.
B.) Be sure to go shopping together. It’s a good idea to have your child’s foot measured regularly. Most shoe stores will be happy to measure your child’s foot. Also, your child can test the shoe for a proper fit, give you his or her opinion of it and most importantly, learn from you the finer points of buying a good shoe. Kids who learn how to select a proper comfortable and supportive shoe may be less likely to make wrong footwear choices as adults, which could save them a lot of discomfort.
C.) Shop for shoes later in the day when your feet swell and are at their largest, and always buy for the larger foot. Having your child’s feet measured will help figure out which foot is larger. Another tip, remember to have your child wear the type of socks or tights he or she will most like wear with the shoe.
D.) Always buy new-never used-and never hand down footwear. Sharing shoes can spread fungus like athlete’s foot, and regardless of shoe size, shoes that are previously worn can cause problems. Children’s feet are as unique as they are. A shoe that fits one child comfortably may not fit another child as well. Plus, shoes that have been worn before tend to conform to the foot of the wearer and may be uncomfortable for anyone else to put on.
E.) No “break-in” period required. Your child’s shoes should be comfortable to wear right away. Once the school year is underway, keep an eye on your child’s shoes. Active kids may wear out their footwear faster. Keep an eye out for signs of irritation, such as your child always wanting to remove one or both shoes. The footwear may no longer fit properly, especially if it’s been a few months since you bought the shoes. Finally, if your child plays spots, be sure you select a sports specific shoe that’s designed for their favorite activity. For daily wear when kids do a lot of walking,
choose a good supportive shoe. Keep flips flops and sandals for occasional wear only. If your child is complaining of foot pain, take him or her to see a podiatrist.
For more information about selecting the right shoe for your child, check out www.apma.org. To make an appointment to see Dr. Anna Marie at Spa Marbella, call 352-324-3924
Dr. Anna Marie Chwastiak
Mission Inn Resort and Club