Children’s feet are constantly changing. The shoes they wear need to be durable, supportive and well fitted while also allowing for growth. It’s the time of year when we start thinking about school shoes and preparing the kids to go back to school. Here are some common back to school mistakes we see, and how you can avoid them.
Mistake#1: Don’t buy shoes to last the whole year
- Not only are school shoes worn almost every day, they are also stomped on, scuffed, splashed and buried in the sand pit. As the shoes get worn out it is important to replace them immediately.
Mistake #2: Leaving Your Child at Home
- Would you let someone else go out and buy shoes for you? How would you know if they fit well and are comfortable?
- It is simply not enough to go out at pick the next size shoe for our child. You must bring them with you to the shoe store to take advantage of fitting services and ensuring they will have happy feet.
- Ask if the sales assistant is trained shoe-fitter, as shoes that are not correctly fitted for width and length can damage your child’s feet.
- There are a number of reputable shoe stores that can take care of your child’s feet and assist you in finding the right shoes for your child
Mistake #3: Buying shoes for school that are not school shoes
- Sneakers can be good for a particular purpose, but not for everyday wear. Ballet flats might be ok for casual wear, but not for the daily rigours that face the playground. I would recommend avoiding shoes with a high heel.
Some things to look out for:
- The length should be a thumbs width longer than the longest toe
- The heel should have a wide base and be made from a shock absorbing material
- The shoes should fit snugly around the heel with no allowance for the heel to slip in and out
- Leather and natural fibres can be better for your child’s feet
- Check the inside for seams and stitching that might irritate
- Make sure the shoes are not too heavy or rigid for small feet
- Avoid sling back or open back shoes – Velcro, laces or buckles will be more secure on your child’s feet
Also, remember that blisters may develop with new shoes. Children’s feet are naturally sweaty, and the inside of their shoes are potential sources of infection so make sure any blisters or abrasions are dressed with antiseptic and a bandaid.
Be mindful as well that older children may be embarrassed and hide foot problems from you, so don’t be afraid to check for sure.
So, that’s it! I hope these simple Back to School Shoe Tips are helpful for you to find the right shoes for your child. And, of course, we would be more than happy to help if you have any further questions.
One thing we love to do as podiatrists is to look at the wear pattern on the base of your shoes.
A common problem we see is wearing down of the outside of the heel. Contrary to what people may think, this is not a sign that your feet are rolling in or out, but it is actually more to do with your hip position as your foot swings through from one step to the next.
Another common problem is a circular wear pattern on one or both of your shoes under the forefoot. This is telling us that as you push off from one step to the next you may be twisting your foot slightly in order to clear the ground.
Take a look at the shoes you are wearing right now and see what areas are wearing down.
By looking at your shoes, podiatrists can detect problems with hamstrings, Achilles tendons, big toes, knees, hips, back pain and even headaches.
Your shoes don’t lie!
The wear pattern on the base of your shoes can give podiatrists valuable clues as to how your posture is affecting your walking, and where there may be a loss of efficiency.
Try this out
A good thing to do at home is to line up three pairs of shoes, turn them over and study the wear pattern of the base of your shoes to see if there are any inconsistencies.
Do you notice that the wear pattern is the same from one shoe to the next, or does it change?
And of the shoes you have chosen, is the wear pattern different on the ones that are least comfortable?
Do you notice that one shoe looks different to the other shoe? Even minor differences can be an indication of asymmetry, which could be contributing to pain or injury.
If you do notice any of these, it may be worth investigating further. You may have just discovered the map that could lead you to the source of your pain.
The podiatrists at Posture Podiatry are trained to interpret the wear pattern on your shoes to find the best outcome for you.
My mother is a physiotherapist, and she has always told me, “Invest in what you sit in and sleep on”.
We spend a lot of our time sleeping; we also spend a lot of our time sitting. However I am going to take it one step further (no pun intended)…
We also spend a lot of time walking.
That’s right. Did you know that in your lifetime you will walk on average the distance equivalent to 4 times around Earth?
While my mother’s sage advice still rings true, when I now pass on the same advice I add, “Invest in what you sit in, sleep on, and walk in.”
There is no avoiding it. You actually do get what you pay for in a shoe. And with the amount of force that goes through your feet, it is good to wear shoes that help your body move efficiently.
How do I know what shoe is right for me?
Not all feet are equal. There are some shoes that are suitable for some people, and not suitable for others.
However, with an entire shoe industry dedicated to providing us with unlimited choice, how can we choose a shoe that is appropriate for us?
Remember the “4 S’s” when it comes to choosing the right shoe for you:
- Size – Ensure there is a thumb-width space at the end of your shoe so your toes don’t get cramped. Try them on at the end of the day when your feet are more swollen.
- Support – Check your shoes to make sure they are rigid in the middle, flexible at the toes, and have a firm heel counter for support.
- Secure – Loosely fitting shoes cause aching and tiredness. Choose shoes that are secure on your feet with laces or a buckle so you will be able enjoy your day for longer.
- Soft – With the force of 4 times your body weight going through your feet with walking, it is good to have some cushioning in your shoes.
At Posture Podiatry, we realise that fashionable footwear is also important, so we have worked out ways to help you cope with those shoes that would otherwise need to be peeled off your feet at the end of a long night.
If you would like us to help you find the right shoe for you, recommend good shoe stores, or even assess your shoe collection (we have had people bring suitcases full of shoes to their appointments!), come on in and have a talk with one the podiatrists at Posture Podiatry.
We can help you find the right shoes for you.
And remember to think carefully about what you sit in, sleep on and walk in!
Running styles vary according to distance, terrain and body type. Here are some helpful tips on how to maximise your ability to run strong and efficiently.
- Stand upright with a gentle lean forward
- Look straight ahead (unless you are on uneven terrain)
- Avoid twisting your body
- Run Quietly
- Visualise yourself as a ninja sneaking up on someone
- Your feet should touch the ground directly beneath you, not out in front of you
- You should avoid slapping ground with your feet, or pounding with your heels
- Kick the Dust Behind You
- It is much better to kick behind you than reach out in front of you to lengthen your stride
- Don’t over-stride – this can cause Shin Splints, Achilles problems, ITB pain and hip flexor pain
- Speed up those steps (Cadence)
- Think 3 steps per second (180 beats per minute)
- Run in time with fast tempo music
- Keep the same tempo whether you are running slow or fast
Make sure you have the correct shoes for your running style
The Podiatrists at Posture Podiatry can help you by assessing your running style, recommending the correct footwear and giving you helpful running drills to get the most out of your run.
Knee pain has the potential to stop you in your tracks.
But what has Mexico got to do with it?
Someone once told me they thought of the knee as Mexico… below the knee is the foot and lower leg – or South America, and above the knee there is the hip and pelvis – North America!
Often we blame the knee for the problem, but it’s likely to be something from either below the knee or above the knee that could be the cause.
So, when you think of your knee pain, consider the following 3 things:
- Are my feet in good alignment below the knee?
This is a good way to tell if your knees are having abnormal stress on them because of the position of your feet. Feet that roll in (pronate) will cause your knee to rotate inwards, feet that roll out (supinate) will make your knee rotate outwards causing stress.
- Does my knee tend to track in or out?
You can test this the next time you sit in a chair. Watch your knees as you sit down, and again as you rise, do they move in or out? Or do they stay in good alignment as they bend?
- Do I also have problems with hip pain and back pain? Or pain along the outside of my thigh?
Hip and back pain coupled with knee pain can be a warning sign that your knee pain is not just a problem with the knee. You may need to look higher to find the true cause of your knee pain.
The podiatrists at Posture Podiatry care about your knees, and can help you find the true cause of your knee pain, and treat it for you.
Contact us today if you have knee pain!