Back to School: Top Tips for Children’s Foot Care & for Selecting the best Shoes!

Humans walk approximately three times around the Earth in an average lifetime but many of us give little attention to our feet and foot health and we often wear badly fitting shoes. So, here are our top tips for children’s foot care and, as the new school term commences, selecting the best shoes for our children.

Unlike adult feet, a child’s foot is still growing. This means that the child can be at risk from certain foot and lower limb problems as they develop. The ideal shoe is often a matter of compromise, particularly when dealing with teenagers!  However, you can try to minimise the risks by following these top tips and encouraging them to wear the appropriate footwear:

  1. Children have naturally sweaty feet, but smelly feet may indicate athlete’s foot.  If they do have very sweaty feet, alternate their footwear to allow the shoes to dry out.
  2. Ensure that they wash their feet daily and dry them well, particularly between the toes.
  3. The toenails should be inspected regularly and trimmed as required.  Do not cut into the edges of the nail as this may cause ingrown nails.
  4. Check children’s feet regularly for pressure marks and verrucae and take early action.
  5. If they complain of itchy, painful areas or rashes on the skin, seek professional advice immediately.
  6. Check that their socks and tights are the correct size.
  7. Inspect their shoes regularly for unusual wear and seek professional advice if you are concerned.
  8. Avoid the use of plimsolls in school all day.
  9. Children should not wear high heels as these can cause long term damage.
  10. Flat slip on shoes such as ballet pumps tend to have very thin soles and give little protection from injury and can also cause long-term problems.

Tips for buying shoes for children:

  1.  Always have your child’s feet measured for length and width.
  2. The shoe toe area should be foot-shaped and of sufficient depth to allow the toes to wiggle (winklepickers are out!).
  3. The shoe heel height should be no greater than 4cm with a broad base of shock-absorbing material.
  4. The shoe should ideally be made of leather, fit snugly around the heel area and be held on the foot with laces, Velcro or a strap.
  5. Correctly fitting trainers are just as, if not more, important.  Feet come under extreme stress during exercise so the same rules apply in selecting trainers as with shoes.
  6. Ideally, fashion shoes should be kept for special occasions only.

For further information feel free to contact our podiatry team.