How to Choose the Right Shoe for Your Child

Shoes for school

Preventive Assessment in Pediatric Podiatry

After spending the vacation season in sandals or barefoot in the sand, on the grass or on
asphalt, a little preventive check-up is highly recommended for the back to school season.
As you’re probably well aware, your kids grow up fast and it’s not uncommon for their shoes
to be the wrong size after just one season of wear.

Before you send them back to school and gym class, it’s important to review the following points:

● Did a foot or ankle injury occur during the summer?
● Has my child had a rapid growth spurt?
● Will he or she be starting any new physical activities soon?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, you may be quite interested in the rest of
this article.

How to Choose the Right Shoe for Your Child

Shopping for shoes can be a real headache, especially when you know that one brand’s
sizing does not necessarily equal another’s or that shoes for physical education classes are
not the same as everyday walking shoes. In fact, according to a survey of European
podiatrists, more than 70% of children do not wear the right shoe size. Two of the reasons
for these dreadful statistics are the instinctual purchase of a similar size from another brand
name and the contradictory information received from various sources.

Let’s try to clarify matters: when choosing a shoe, one must leave a gap of about 1 cm at the
end of the toes to allow the child to grow and move properly. It’s time to replace the shoes
when the gap drops below half of one centimetre, since the foot can no longer extend easily
when walking or running.

If you have to go shopping without your child, here’s how to measure their foot:

Set him/her upright on a sheet of paper, draw a line in front of the longest toe, then behind
the heel, all with the pencil perpendicular to the paper. To determine the width, draw a line on
the side of the foot where the bump at the base of the little toe is located. Then do the same
with the bump on the big toe. Connect the width and length together (not in a rectangle, but
in a cross). Repeat with the second foot since it may likely be a slightly different size.

Preventing Foot Injuries in Children

Your children are full of energy and don’t instinctively take the time to stretch or implement
good warm-up practices every time they engage in an activity. They may also carry heavy
backpacks and sit for several hours in class. These factors are not conducive to the flexibility
of their posterior muscle chain.

Designing a protocol that includes flexibility exercises may be helpful and wise. Consulting
with your podiatrist will help you match the demands of their physical and recreational
activities with their specific biomechanics, as well as help you choose appropriate footwear.

These interventions are all the more important when it comes to growing children.
Furthermore, it’s essential to encourage your children to diversify their physical activities,
because the results can only be positive for their cognitive development, coordination,
strength, etc. In short, this should help prevent injuries and contribute to healthy growth.

Is your family looking forward to participating in the Montreal Beneva Marathon event at the
end of September or are you simply trying to get motivated for the trials and tribulations
associated with buying winter boots? Both are good reasons to seriously consider a podiatry

Modelled after the adage “Moderation is best,” your podiatrist at the Monkland Sports
Podiatry Clinic can’t stress enough that “Prevention is much more cost effective.”

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