It’s that time of the year when parents breathe a collective sigh of relief that our kids are finishing school holidays. But it also means we’re frantically getting organised for ‘back to school’. There’s the long to do list of school books, uniforms, bags, lunchboxes, visits to the dentist and hair dressers, shoes…
It’s the main time of the year when we think about their growing feet, particularly for teenage boys.
There are 52 bones in our feet - nearly a quarter of the bones in our body! These continue to grow until adulthood. Untreated foot conditions can lead to knee, hip and back pain; and can seriously affect your child’s development and posture. Shoes and socks that don’t fit properly can cause pain. So, it’s important check your child’s feet and treat any problems as early as possible.
Inspiro's podiatrists have prepared 6 tips to keep your kid's feet healthy.
If you haven't yet checked your own feet, here are 7 foot problems that can lead to diabetes.
1. Regularly measure growing feet
Check and measure your child’s feet regularly to make sure they are wearing shoes that fit properly. Every school holidays is a good reminder to check their feet, or after a growth spurt.
2. Get the right shoe size and fit
Did you know that your child’s feet can grow significantly in six months? So, it’s important to think about growth when buying shoes. But shoes that are too big can cause feet to slide forward, putting extra pressure on toes. Tight shoes can cause blisters, corns, calluses and ingrown nails.
It is important to get shoes that fit both the length and width of your child’s feet. Press down with your thumb on the front of your child’s shoes as well to make sure there’s a comfortable gap (a thumb width) between the toes and the end of the shoe.
Remember that kids’ shoes have to work harder than adults. Kids are running around, chasing, jumping, and climbing at recess, lunch and more. Here are 5 tips for getting the right shoe, shoe size and the correct shoe fit:
1. Choose a breathable fabric like leather or canvas to allow their feet to breathe and prevent fungal infections (see 5).
2. Make sure they have enough support in the soles, heel and toes. Check the sole can bend under the ball of the foot, and that the shoe has a firm heel counter (the part that goes around the back of the heel). Shoes that bend in half or twist won’t offer enough support for your child.
3. School shoes need to hold the foot firmly to stop the foot from slipping and sliding around. So look for shoes with laces, buckles or Velcro.
4. It is also a good idea to check the soles of your child’s old shoes, especially around the heel. Is there any excessive or unusual wear in a certain part of the soles? If so, it is best to see a podiatrist before buying new shoes.
5. Although it’s tempting to buy shoes online, it’s a good idea to take your child with you shoe shopping. Shoes shouldn’t need a ‘break-in’ period and should feel comfortable as soon as your child tries them on.
3. Make sure socks fit properly
Socks shouldn’t be too tight or too loose that they bunch up inside shoes. This can cause blisters and injuries that lead to changed walking patterns.
4. Get them to go barefoot
Encourage your child to go barefoot wherever possible, especially in their early years. This helps muscles develop strength and lets air circulate around their feet. It can also help to reduce fungal infections (see 5).
5. Wash feet everyday
Make sure your kids wash their feet every day and dry them well, especially between the toes. If their feet are always sweaty and moist, fungal infections like athlete’s foot can develop more easily.
6. Keep their toenails trimmed and cleaned
Keep toenails trimmed as nails that are too long can dig into other toes, tear up socks or dig into the shoe, and cause discomfort. Long toenails are more prone to chipping or breaking off painfully too.
Cut your child’s toe nails in a straight line and don’t try to cut around the corners. This can lead to ingrown toenails.
Need help with your kids' feet or your own feet?
Inspiro's podiatrists can help with lower leg or foot problems. Our podiatrists can check for walking patterns, prescribe orthoses (supports fitted into the shoe) and provide advice on suitable footwear.
If you have arthritis, diabetes, numbness or loss of feeling in your feet, corns, calluses and ingrowing toenails, then make a booking with our friendly reception staff.
Call 9028 0153 to make an appointment.
Improving your child's fine motor skills
Learning fine motor skills before school is vital for your child's early learning and development. Click here to learn more.
Other Inspiro services for kids and and young adults
Inspiro offers a range of services for kids and young adults including:
1. Free youth and family counselling
Inspiro provides a free youth counselling service for young people aged between 12 to 25 years who live, work or study in the Yarra Ranges. Our counsellors help young people who may be dealing with depression, anxiety, bullying, harassment or difficult relationships, to gain the confidence and skills to do things differently.
A peer support program for young people age 13 to 18 years, who have a family member with a mental illness.
3. Autism Spectrum Kids:
A social development skills program for young people age 12 - 17 years on the Autism Spectrum,
4. Occupational therapy for children
Child occupational therapists support children to become more independent in everyday activities. Our therapists help children with hand skills (holding a pencil, cutting), body skills (balancing, catching a ball) and self-care skills (dressing, toileting and sleeping). They can also help if a child has trouble with concentration or managing the information they receive through their senses.
5. Speech therapy
Our Children's Speech Therapist works with children aged up to school entry who are experiencing speech related problems.
These may include articulation (speech sounds); fluency (stuttering); use of expressive language; and understanding language.
6. Free dental care for children age 12 and under
Give your child the best start in life with good dental care. It will help protect their teeth for decades to come and help prevent painful fillings and costly special dental work.