Small FEET – a big thing!
1. We take care of every step you take!
All parents want all the best for their children; they know that children’s health is priceless. There comes the day, when they have to face the decision to buy the first and then another pair of shoes. They ponder over choosing the best ones from the abundance offered by the market.
What are the inevitable qualities of healthy footwear? Should it be tied, Velcro-fastened or buckled? How to protect a child form faulty posture and foot defects?
We will answer all your questions, because the purchase of shoes for your children is not as easy as it seems. Footwear is not only a decorative element of our outfit. It should support, strengthen and also correct the functions of a locomotor system.
Feet serve as the base for our body and their fitness influences the fitness of the whole organism!
We have decided to buy shoes that are appropriate for our child, but what does an “appropriate footwear” mean?
Fashionable footwear can also be comfortable and healthy. While making choices, check carefully certificates and opinions, presented by the manufacturers. It is crucial that the quality of footwear is confirmed by independent institutions employing qualified experts. Take care of every step your child makes with a comfortable footwear on!
2. “Mum, Dad – learn about the stages of your kid feet’s growth.”
- The most important stage of children feet’s growth is between birth and third year of life. At that time, the length of feet doubles and a significant advancement in the process of ossification is observed. However, feet are very flexible and pliant, because the process of ossification is in progress and ligament and muscles are not fully durable yet.
- Around 10-15 months, a child starts to walk. We can observe the change in the build and position of lower limbs.
- Around 3-4 years, fatty cushions appear, covering the skeleton of a foot. The largest cushion is located on the medial side, under the longitudinal arch of a foot, which gives the impression of a flat foot. Fortunately, it is a “false” flat foot, a physiological one.
- Around 3-4 years, a fatty layer located under the longitudinal arch of a foot disappears and, in the case of a properly growing healthy foot, the correct shape of the arch can now be observed. A typical feature of baby’s feet is broadly spread, fan-shaped toes arrangement. This allows for increased surface of contract when a foot touches the ground, and gives a child a greater sense of stability while making first steps.
- Child’s feet undergo the process of shaping until the 8th year of life and during that time they are still incredibly vulnerable to deformation, and therefore the parents should observe the growth of their child’s feet and seek medical specialist attention as soon as they notice anything disturbing, irrespectively of the age of a child. Any foot defect may cause serious problems for children, such as: leg pain, change in gait or even a faulty posture.
3. Good footwear works as a second skin on a child’s foot
Faulty posture and foot defects appearing in children and teenagers, such as longitudinal flat feet, knees valgity and varus deformity are closely related, that is – one of them causes another. They might cause knee, hip and spine growth disorder.
The correct footwear may stop or reverse these negative processes.
4. What should be avoided in order to prevent faulty posture?
- Encouraging a child to stand up and walk too early, the body of a child has to “grow up” to do this.
- Baby walkers, which disturb the locomotive development of a child.
- Type of footwear disturbing proper feet growth.
- Neglecting certain child behaviours, such as: quick tiredness, unwillingness to walk and play, which may signal the fact that the child has uncomfortable shoes, that are too small or too big.
- Putting on shoes not suitable for given conditions and activities performed by the child.
Approved by: Mgr Barbara Skrzyńska, mgr Bożena Rajchel-Chyla Antropologists at Instytut Przemysłu Skórzanego (the Leather Industry Institute) in Łódź, a branch in Kraków.
5. What should worry preschoolers’ Mums and Dads?
- Shoe back parts with inward or outward contortion.
- Shoe back parts excessively rubbed off on one side.
- Child complaining about leg pain.
- Child getting tired too quickly while walking or running.
- Flat footprint left on the floor after a bath.
What should we do when we notice the abovementioned abnormalities in our children?
Consult children’s orthopaedist, who shall examine the child and recommend appropriate exercises, insoles or footwear.
6. Parents, avoid the following mistakes!
- Children should not wear second-hand shoes, even if they are not worn out. Footwear always adjusts to the shape of the feet of its first user, and therefore it may deform next user’s feet.
- Never go shopping with a gauge stick, but always take your child with you.
- Never buy shoes of the length equal to the length of a foot. Footwear should be around one centimetre longer than a child’s foot, because the foot moves forward in a shoe while walking and a shoe, that is too short may cause toe injuries. You should remember that children’s feet grow very fast.
- Healthy child’s foot, that is growing properly, does not require any orthopaedic insoles. Officiousness may be harmful to your child. Such insole may weaken muscles and ligaments, when it supports the arch of a healthy foot. Only an orthopaedist can recommend wearing shoes with such an insole. Many children suffer from false flat feet, which should be not treated, even until the age of four.
- Never wait with buying new shoes (e.g. sandals) because of season’s ending. These couple of weeks may be crucial for your child’s feet, which may grow during that time. If child’s shoes are too small, a toe injury or even deformation may occur and toe nails may start growing in.
- Never forget to clean sweaty footwear.
- Avoid shoes made of leather-like materials with low hygiene parameters, which may cause athlete’s foot.
- Never let your child walk barefoot on hard ground, because microshocks it provokes may be transferred to the spine. Walking barefoot on the sand or grass strengthens and develops foot muscles.
- Girls want to walk on high-heels like their mums. They can never be allowed to do that, because it has a negative influence on their foot growth (to much load on the front part of foot may cause deformation.
Heels that are too high alter the body posture and enforce unnatural gait. The height of the heel with the sole should not exceed 0,5 cm until the 3rd year of life, 1cm until the 6th year of life, 2-2,5 until the 12th year of life
Exercises for strengthening feet muscles for children.
(In order to obtain good results, it is recommended to exercise for 10-15 minutes daily)
In seated position:
The drawer – place a handful of buttons, chestnuts or other small objects in front of your child. Ask the child to put together patterns out of these objects, using his or her toes (e.g. a girl- a butterfly or a flower, and a boy- a car or a plane).
The circus artist– seat in front of your child, put a ball in front of her or him , throw it one to another, using your feet.
The painter– put a piece of paper in front of your child, ask the child to place a crayon between his first and second toe and to draw something, for example a house.
In lying position:
Cycling– ask your child to lie down on the back. Pass him/her bags filled with peas and make him/her hold them with the toes and pretend cycling movements with the legs.
In standing position:
The Smurfs, giraffes, bunnies– ask your child to tiptoe, walk on its heels and to jump. You can compare yourselves to the Smurfs, giraffes or jumping bunnies.
The stork– ask your child to stand on one leg like a stork, tell him/her to lift a bag (a frog) up and to put it somewhere else (for example onto the plate).
The shredder– encourage your child to stand on a newspaper and to tear it with toes into little pieces.
If it is possible, put your child down to swimming classes – swimming strengthens feet muscles.
During medical examination for four and six year-olds, a paediatrician examines children also in terms of orthopaedics, checks the way of walking and makes sure a spin is straight. It is worth asking in the kindergarten, whether such examination is possible – in some kindergartens such examinations are carried out on regular bases.