School shoes for kids – How to choose the right size

School shoes for kids – How to choose the right size

School Shoes for Kids - How to choose the right size

Choosing a shoe size? How do you make sure you get it right in the era of self serve? How do you make sure the delightful 15 year old helping you at the shoe shop is getting it right?

Podiatrist Dr. Brenden Brown from Sydney-based clinic A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care shows you how to quickly and simply make sure you have the right fit for your child's feet!

School Shoes for Children

Our children spend 30 hours a week in school shoes, that's in excess of 15 000 hours in a school child's lifetime. Choosing the right shoe for your child is extremely important.

Poorly fitting children's shoes can be problematic and may lead to problems in adulthood such as hammer toes, ingrown toenails, corns on the feet, callus and possibly bunions. Poorly fitting shoe or unsupportive shoes may exacerbate foot problems.

These problems can be painful and may require treatment ranging from simple consultations with a podiatrist to surgery. It therefore makes sense to, where possible, ensure children’s shoes fit properly.

 

Generally, most podiatrists when fitting footwear to children for school would recommend you look for the following features.

  • There should be a child’s thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of the longest toe
  • The sole of the shoe should be fairly straight as the foot is straight
  • The fastening mechanism should hold the heel firmly in the back of the shoe
  • The back part of the shoe should be strong and stable. This area is often referred to as the heel counter
  • The shoe should flex across the ball of the foot, not in the middle of the shoe
  • The sole should not twist. They shouldn’t “wring out”
  • Lace up, Velcro or a buckle is best. Slip on shoes are not generally considered the best thing for long term use
  • Yes mum you are right! It is better for your feet if you do up your laces!
  • A Heel height greater than 1.5 cm should be avoided for long term use
I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.Oprah Winfrey

How often do you need to buy new school shoes?

A school shoe should generally last nine months to a year. However you should realise that if you notice your child has a growth spurt it is wise to check to see if their foot has also grown, as the two will go hand in hand. After the age of three it is generally thought a child’s foot will grow about half a size every 6 months.

Large amounts of “wearing” noticed on the shoe, or shoes, that cause pain should be replaced.

You should not place a child in “hand-me-down” shoes.

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Kids Feet – What age should parents worry about their kid’s feet?

Kids Feet – What age should parents worry about their kid’s feet?

Kids Feet - What age should parents worry about their kid’s feet?

Pain (usually described as aching, throbbing or cramping) in the thighs, calves, behind the knee of one or both legs, or in the feet that occurs in the evening or night. These are the typical symptoms of ‘growing pains’. However, despite the name—there’s no evidence that growing is painful.

So what is causing your child’s pain?

Muscle overuse during the day is a likely cause of musculoskeletal pain at night. Muscle overuse can be caused by simple and common activities such as running, jumping, climbing or even standing for lengthy periods.

Common symptoms of activity-based musculoskeletal pain include:

  • Pain located in the lower limbs
  • Pain is isolated to lower limbs (legs, calves, ankles, feet)
  • Likely incidence of sport or activity within last 48 hours
  • Pain can worsen as child continues activity
  • Temporary relief may be achieved with pain relief medication, massage or heat packs

Treating ‘growing pains’

Children suffering from ‘growing pains’ are commonly told, “they’ll grow out of it” or “just rest” — this advice is not only disappointing and frustrating for parents it is NOT A TREATMENT MODALITY,” says podiatrist and founder of A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care Dr Brenden Brown.

If the discomfort is linked to activity-based musculoskeletal pain, there are a myriad treatment options including:

  • Foot posture assessment
  • Soft tissue rehab therapy
  • Warm-up and training modifications
  • Progressive muscle loading
  • Prescription orthotics (ideally soft and pliable)

The answer to ‘growing pains’ is that you don’t need to wait until your child outgrows the pain. The pain experienced is treatable with the right assessment and approach,” advises Dr Brenden.

A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care is based in Western Sydney. We have multiple practitioners with lots of experience in helping kids become pain free.

If you’d like more information please contact our helpful front desk team. They are brilliant at working through what help you need, guiding you to the appointment that is right for you or your family, running through cost and then reserving your appointment time. Call us today on +61 2 9673 2987 we look forward to helping.

Got a question about growing pains, musculoskeletal pain or any other foot or ankle concern? Visit us on Instagram#AskDrFoot @AstepAheadFootandAnkleCare or Facebook @podiatristsydney

 

Transcript

So, as a parent of a newborn or a little kid, it can be super confusing. There's stacks for us to know. One of the really confusing things that lots of parents ask me about is when do you need to start worrying about your kids’ feet? Is there a magical age? Well, first of all no, there's actually probably not. In this video, I'm going to run through a little bit of history about kids’ feet and how they develop, and then I'm going to talk to you about some really simple things that you can look for to make sure that your kids develop properly. But also, if they present with these signs or symptoms, you know to take them to see a qualified podiatrist and get some answers or some help straight away.

So, some brief history of how kids’ feet develop. When kids are born, they're really cute, chubby little feet. Around about the age of seven or nine is when we expect kids’ bones to ossify or harden and develop an arch. So, before the age of seven or nine, it' pretty normal for kids to have flat feet. So, you don't have to worry about flat feet until around about seven or nine. However, to make things tricky, because that's what we like to do to you parents out there, there's one caveat. And that is, if your child has flat feet and they have one of the following signs or symptoms, even before the age of seven, you should take them to see a very well-qualified foot doctor podiatrist that deals with children.

The first one is pain. Your child should never have pain in their feet. I personally don't believe in growing pains, and there's a great video that I've done on exactly why I don't believe in growing pains. You can check it out in the link below. But no child should have pain in their feet or while they're growing.

The next sign or symptom that you should be worried about is if your child trips, falls or is clumsy or, often said by Dads to me in kind of whispering: they're a little bit unco. If they're any of those things guess what? Again, you should take them to see a qualified podiatrist who has experience dealing with kids. Again, we've got a video talking about why that happens and what you can help do about that, so check out the link below.

Next, we talk about not wanting to do activity. If you've got pain in your feet or legs and often as kids we don't know how to express that or how do tell Mum and Dad that, and we often just find kids baulk or stop doing activity, so they might not want to walk with you at the end of the picnic when you guys are going for a long walk as a family, or they might not want to join their brothers and sisters in playing soccer in the backyard or at pre-school playing with the other kids. If they complain about that, want to be put in a shopping trolley, those sorts of things are all signs that there may be something else going on, and you should see a qualified podiatrist.

Now they're the signs and symptoms that you should look for if your child has problems. Growing pains or pain in their feet, tripping, falling clumsy, complaining about activity, any of those things, take them to see someone like me, a qualified podiatrist, a foot doctor who sees stacks of kids. That's right.

Again, we've got oodles of videos with links down below talking all about kids feet. Everything from how to choose the right school shoe, to choosing the right school shoe size, to heel pain, to growing pains and everything in between.

So, join me there and check it out. If you've got a question, post down below and we will get back to you. Remember, let's keep our kids happy, healthy and active. Bye for now.

School Shoes for Kids

School Shoes for Kids

School Shoes for Kids

Traditional school shoe or jogger: Does it matter?

Children spend at least 30 hours a week stomping around in their school shoes. This means that choosing the right shoe is really important for the health and comfort of your child’s feet.

"Ill-fitting school shoes can lead to a multitude of foot problems in adulthood, such as ingrown toenails, corns, callus, bunions and hammer toes. There’s also evidence to suggest that poorly fitting shoes can cause back pain," says podiatrist and founder of A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care, Dr Brenden.

No parent wants to put their child through undue foot pain or cause feet issues in later life. By understanding how to select the right shoes for children and following the guidance of a podiatrist, parents can help ensure they’re a step ahead when it comes to picking out the best back-to-school shoes.

With Dr Brenden's top tips, choosing the right back-to-school shoes for your child should be as easy as...well...A,B,C!

Get the best fit. It can be tempting to buy a size bigger, given how fast children’s feet grow, but the key is to allow a maximum of one thumb width between the top of the longest toe and the end of the shoe.

Heel support. Squeeze the back of the shoe to make sure the heel counter is strong and stable. This way you know you’re getting good heel support. The heel of the shoe should also be no higher than 1.5 cms.

Fasten up. Check that the fastening mechanism (laces, Velcro or buckle) holds the heel firmly in the back of the shoe. Slip-on shoes are not recommended for school wear.

Sole survivor. The soles of shoes should be fairly straight, rather than curved, as this accommodates the straightness of the foot. Also, if you attempt to ‘wring out’ the shoe by holding one hand at the heel and the other in the middle, it should not twist.

Flexibility. A flexible shoe allows for the natural movement of the foot but make sure that the shoe flexes at the ball of the foot; the shoe should NEVER bend in the middle.

A higher price tag doesn’t always mean a better shoe. Well-known brands, such as Clarks, do tend to outlast some of the cheaper brands but this is because they are well made using quality materials. Check to see that the shoe you’re considering buying is made from a high-quality, durable material.

Forget foot weights. You might be fooled into thinking that a heavy shoe is a sign of good quality. Yet a shoe that is particularly heavy is probably not going to be the most comfortable choice. A shoe should weigh no more than approximately 250 grams. That’s less than a can of soup!

Hand-me-down shoes are a no-no. Aside from the risk of fungal or bacterial infection, pre-worn shoes are likely to have molded to the shape of the previous owner’s feet. It’s also probable that the tread and heel counter have worn down, offering less support and poorer stability for your child’s feet.

Listen to your child. If your child complains of foot pain or discomfort or you notice they are walking differently, take a trip to your local podiatrist to have their feet checked.

"Parents commonly ask how long school shoes should last. Of course, this will depend on the quality of the shoe but on average they should last nine months to a year.

"However, if you notice your child has a growth spurt—check to see if their feet have outgrown their shoes. On average, children’s feet grow about half a shoe size every six months," says Dr Brenden.

Happy shoe shopping!

Want to know more about taking care of kids’ feet? Visit: www.mykidsfootdoctor.com.au

Plus, check out Dr Brenden's YouTube reviews of some of the latest (2018) school shoes on the market (Includes Ascent Eve Black, ASICS Gel Trigger, New Balance 625 KX, Target Billy Senior—to name just a few!)

Or watch Dr Brenden's Facebook live video chat on the best school shoes of 2018.

Growing pains and what you can do about them

Growing pains and what you can do about them

Pain (usually described as aching, throbbing or cramping) in the thighs, calves, behind the knee of one or both legs, or in the feet that occurs in the evening or night. These are the typical symptoms of ‘growing pains’. However, despite the name—there’s no evidence that growing is painful.

Growing pains and what you can do about them - 1

Growing pains and what you can do about them

So what is causing your child’s pain?

Muscle overuse during the day is a likely cause of musculoskeletal pain at night. Muscle overuse can be caused by simple and common activities such as running, jumping, climbing or even standing for lengthy periods.

Common symptoms of activity-based musculoskeletal pain include:

  • Pain located in the lower limbs
  • Pain is isolated to lower limbs (legs, calves, ankles, feet)
  • Likely incidence of sport or activity within last 48 hours
  • Pain can worsen as child continues activity
  • Temporary relief may be achieved with pain relief medication, massage or heat packs

Treating ‘growing pains’

Children suffering from ‘growing pains’ are commonly told, “they’ll grow out of it” or “just rest” — this advice is not only disappointing and frustrating for parents it is NOT A TREATMENT MODALITY,” says podiatrist and founder of A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care Dr Brenden Brown.

If the discomfort is linked to activity-based musculoskeletal pain, there are a myriad treatment options including:

  • Foot posture assessment
  • Soft tissue rehab therapy
  • Warm-up and training modifications
  • Progressive muscle loading
  • Prescription orthotics (ideally soft and pliable)

The answer to ‘growing pains’ is that you don’t need to wait until your child outgrows the pain. The pain experienced is treatable with the right assessment and approach,” advises Dr Brenden.

A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care is based in Western Sydney. We have multiple practitioners with lots of experience in helping kids become pain free.

If you’d like more information please contact our helpful front desk team. They are brilliant at working through what help you need, guiding you to the appointment that is right for you or your family, running through cost and then reserving your appointment time. Call us today on +61 2 9673 2987 we look forward to helping.

Got a question about growing pains, musculoskeletal pain or any other foot or ankle concern? Visit us on Instagram #AskDrFoot @AstepAheadFootandAnkleCare or Facebook @podiatristsydney

Related articles:

Growing pains—more than just pain from growing

Taking care of common kids’ foot complaints

Heels pain in active kids (Sever’s disease)

Infographic: Common kids’ heel pain

Knee pain in kids

Knee pain in kids

Knee pain in kids - 1

Knee pain in kids

“Knee pain almost exclusively only affects active kids,” says sports podiatrist and founder of A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care Dr Brenden Brown.

“In the majority of cases the knee pain will be related to a specific period of activity.

“Sometimes you have to look back 12 hours before the pain starts to pinpoint the activity that caused it. For example, a child might be sore and suffering from a really painful knee on Sunday yet because they didn’t hobble off the footy field after their game on Saturday the parents don’t relate the pain to playing football.”

Causes of kids’ knee pain

Dr Brenden says knee pain in children is predominantly caused by Osgood-Schlatter disease.

Knee pain in kids - 2

What is Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is characterised by a painful lump just below the kneecap.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, ‘Osgood-Schlatter disease most often occurs during growth spurts, when bones, muscles, tendons, and other structures are changing rapidly. Because physical activity puts additional stress on bones and muscles, children who participate in athletics—especially running and jumping sports—are at an increased risk for this condition. However, less active adolescents may also experience this problem.’

Treating knee pain in kids

The most common treatment approach by practitioners is stretching or advising the child to stop playing sport.

“I disagree,” says Dr Brenden.

“Telling kids to stop playing sport is not a treatment modality. It’s simply avoiding the cause of the pain. Once they start activity again, BOOM the pain re-appears!

“Similarly, stretching alone will not, in most cases, cure the underlying problem. I see children who are given stretching routines by their healthcare professionals time and time again, season after season. If knee pain is an ongoing problem for the child, we should be evaluating their foot posture in order to find the core problem and a positive long-term solution.”

Dr Brenden adds, “There are far too many viable treatment options available which can address the underlying issue of knee pain and keep children active.

“Advising a child to stop playing sport is no longer necessary and is in fact detrimental to child’s long-term health”

Knee pain in kids - 3

Tips to prevent knee pain in kids

—Warm up properly. Before you “warm up” with a jog, try walking at a moderate to brisk pace 4 times around the football field (8 times around a netball court). Start slow, increase as you progress—NEVER run!

—Ensuring you’re wearing the right footwear can help protect the knees. Wear good, supportive, sports-specific shoes (not the trendiest runners you can find!).

“Choosing appropriate footwear that’s specific to the sport being played would likely reduce the amount of foot-related injuries we see by at least 25%,” says Dr Brenden.

—Work on improving the leg muscle strength and flexibility. Isometric strength exercises are readily accessible and can be performed anywhere—even when in pain!

Related articles:

Warming up for sports…why bother?

What’s causing your child’s heel pain?

Common kids’ foot complaints

ABOUT US

A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care is one of Sydney’s leading foot and ankle clinics. Principal podiatrist and founder of A Step Ahead Dr Brenden Brown (AKA Dr Foot) has been taking care of people’s feet for more than 20 years.

With a background in sports medicine and having served as a former president of the Australasian Podiatry Council, Brenden is a wealth of information when it comes to foot and ankle care.