Back to school means new shoes and foot checks

It is back to school time and according to Kylie McCulloch, President of the Australian Podiatry Association (NSW&ACT), it is that important time when parents should give their kids an annual foot check – find out if their shoes fit and if they are experiencing foot pain or any other issues.

ÒThis is the time of year when parents should do an annual check of their children’s feet to see if they are developing properly and check what shoes are in the cupboard,Ó she said.

ÒEvery school term there will be some kind of change in growing feet, however after the long summer break it’s good to remeasure feet and purchase correct fitting day and sports shoes.

ÒThis is also a good time to ask your kids about their feet and how they feel, to see if there are any underlying problems,Ó said Ms McCulloch.

ÒParents should also consider the activities their kids will doing in the new year and seek out the right footwear. There are different sports shoes for different sports and many do not realise this.

ÒIn addition no child’s foot is the same so there is no single best shoe. The fit can be affected by their height, weight, shape, biomechanics and stage of growth development, so choosing the correct shoe is imperative.

ÒAlso if foot problems run in the family I advise that you have your child’s growth progress checked periodically by a podiatrist or at least have them properly measured by going to a shoe supplier that provides professional measuring services,Ó she said.

There are three main types of feet: normal, flat and high-arched. A person with normal feet needs a stable shoe with moderate control features. A flat footed person should have motion control shoes or high stability shoes with a firm midsole and control features that reduce the degree of pronation. The high-arched foot needs cushioned or neutral shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion.

ÒIt is very important that while feet are growing that fashion stay out of the agenda as much as possible. Young girls should not be wearing high heels until they are older as wearing high heels in early development stages can cause damage. However if they insist on flouting the rules wear high heels for very short spaces of time and have a spare pair of comfortable low heeled shoes in your bag.

ÒHanding down shoes should also be avoided. An old shoe belonging to someone else will take on their shape and gait, which will not be the same as the new wearer. Buying a new shoe is always advised,Ó she concluded.

Tips for purchasing shoes at any age:

– Choose a store that measures your feet to ensure best fit

– Buy shoes in the afternoon as the foot will be larger at this time

– Always walk around in the shoes before purchasing, checking for comfort and tight spots

– When standing you should be able to wriggle your toes

– Ensure the sole of the shoe is firm and bends across the ball of the foot

– The material breathes and is flexible – leather is the best for this.


KYLIE McCULLOCH is sole owner of Rhodes Podiatry Clinic and part of the Eastwood Podiatry Clinic team.

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