While parents of kids in the Olentangy and Dublin City school districts around our offices at Columbus Podiatry & Surgery prepare for back to school, there is one item that is sure to make every child’s wish list for starting the fall looking their best: new shoes. While getting the best price and shoes that look “cool” for your kids are certainly factors when making a purchase, the health of your child’s feet need to be priority number one.
One of the most important parts for a child’s shoe is to make sure that the shoe fits correctly. Because feet grow so quickly, it is very important to have both feet measured every time new shoes are purchased as a child is still developing. Most stores selling children’s shoes have what is called a Brannock device that not only measures the length of the foot from heel to toe, but also the width of the foot and the length of the foot from the heel to the ball, which is actually the most important determinant in foot size. Once the foot size is measured, this provides a general guide to what shoe size to try. Foot size and shoe size may not always be the same because different shoe companies’ sizes may vary. Check to make sure the toes are not hitting the front of the toe box and that the ball, or widest part of the foot, lines up with the widest part of the shoe. These simple measures can prevent painful foot problems for your child such as black toenails and calluses. A properly fitting shoe also allows bones that are still growing and ossifying to develop in the correct position and prevent foot and ankle deformities. More problematic feet may require orthotics or braces and a shoe with laces versus a slip-on should then be selected to accommodate these devices.
Hand me downs and online purchasing for back to school shoes may seem like an enticing idea to any bargain hunter; however these practices should also be generally avoided. Hand me downs can be problematic not only because of the possibility of foot fungus spreading, but also because the cushioned insole portion of the shoe tends to mold to the shape of the foot of the initial wearer. When a younger sibling or other hand me down shoe “receiver” then wears the shoes, they will not mold to their foot shape and may lack support and cushioning in areas where it is needed. Online shoe shopping does not provide the opportunity to make sure that shoes fit appropriately on a foot that may have grown a size or two since the last shoe purchase; so make sure the retailer has a good return policy just in case!
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.