Tag Archives for " children’s shoes "

Footwear For Babies – Barefoot is Best

Babies do not need footwear. Anything that you put on a baby’s feet will constrict and damage it. Don’t be persuaded to buy ‘pram shoes’ they should be hanging from the rearview mirror of your car!

As children develop they are all action and this is part of the normal growth pattern so it is essential that they are allowed freedom of movement at every opportunity.

There can also be damage from clothing that we put our babies in. Romper suits (called a Babygro when my children were small) are often too small or tight and restrict the very important kickiing activity the all growing babies need. In South Africa there is a trend to cover babies when in the pram or stroller. DON”T. Any covering that reduces the normal developmental reflex movements will cause harm. Those beautiful knitted bootees from Aunty Tshidi – watch them – they must allow the wriggling, growing toes to keep doing just that.

If you look at ‘pram shoes’ you will see very little of their shape matches the baby foot, especially at the toes wher usually they are too narrow. It could be the equivalent of you or I wearing a shoe one size too small. Even the fastening around the ankle, although it may look OK has the potential to press into baby’s foot.

During the first 6 months total freedom should be the aim. This allows the unhindered development of the neuromuscular responses. Just take a moment to look at the feet of the newborn and infants before they start walking. What you will see is a range of curling, wriggling, turning in and out, twitching and so forth which need to bee allowed without being enclosed in footwear of any sort.

Barefoot is best. Loose covering obviously to keep warm. Yes keep the sun off, but don’t constrict the feet. Throw away the ‘pram shoes’n the only footwear you need for babies is bare skin.

Arthritis Affects Children’s Feet

J.I.A. or juvenile idiopathic arthritis is just one of the manifestations of arthritis in children. Just like adults children get pain, stiffness in the morning that can last for some hours, restricted movement of their joints, swelling of their hands and feet. In other words serious incapacity. Unlike the adult form where we see a pattern of rheumatoid arthritis starting to affect women mainly around the age of 40, in children it can happen anytime.

Awareness is the key for both parents and health care professionals. I have been seeing children with local areas of tenderness or pain under the heels, or at the back of them. Pain along the soles of the feet. Ankles that are painful all the time either when moving or resting. Showing reluctance to run around because of the pain. Complaining of swollen and painful toes. Not wanting to wear their school shoes because they hurt. There are many other signs and symptoms that usually the doctor will identify.

Some of my patients are so badly affected by arthritis that they are only able to wear soft slippers to school. Fortunately a donor has offered to provide appropriate soft but firm footwear for them. Some children are completely pain free thanks to the medication that has been prescribed, but they have structural foot problems and so need some form of support – usually with an orthotic – but often just a decent shoe and some advice is enough.

The secret of success in managing these children is teamwork, and I am lucky to be part of the paediatric rheumatology team at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. The specialist doctors are able to prescribe the appropriate medication which frequently brings relief to the painful joints and removes symptoms.

Don’t ignore the child with a painful foot. It probably isn’t arthritis, but it might be.

More Foot Pain For South African School Children?

Thousands of South African children go back to school tomorrow. How many with foot pain?

We don’t know the facts, because the research hasn’t been done. But as children grow, so do their feet. So it’s a safe bet that many feet will be pushed into shoes that were bought at the beginning of the school year in January and are too small 6 months later in July.

On the other hand there will be some children who will suffer the discomfort of a brand new pair of school shoes! It’s not true that shoes have to be “worn in.” They should fit properly and be comfortabl from the start.

Most children wont tell their parents that their shoes are too small, because the soft, developing bones can be easily squeezed and squashed into position. In addition, in the current economic climate, the cost of a new pair of school shoes often has to be balanced against food, rent or travel expenses.

Try to look at your children’s shoes as soon as possible after the start of the term. They have probably complained about having to wear them anyway – having not worn them for a month. Get them to stand up in their school socks and you press gently on the end of each shoe to find the ends of the toes. If there isn’t a finger space at the end, they are too short.

Don’t try the other method of pushing a finger down the back of the foot behind the heel. The shoes should fit around the heels and allow the feet to lie nicely in their normal position. Check also for uneven wear on either side of the shoes – this shows flattening or ‘out-turning’. If the shoes are deforming you should get to see a podiatrist for a check up.

A final word on hockey, rugby and soccer boots. If your child complains that the soles of the feet are sore, have a look for red marks over the areas where the studs are. You probably need to put a soft cushion insole inside to limit stud pressure.

Can’t wait for the next school holidays!

Fitting Children’s Shoes – Again!

Fitting children with shoes can be really difficult and is often unpleasant for all involved. That includes brothers, sisters and fathers hanging around nearby! This means that the responsibility for getting the correct usually lies with Mum. The trauma increases due to the fact that in South Africa, there are virtually no shops who know how to measure children’s feet and fit the correct size of shoe.

Some stores have had measuring boards available in the shoe section for some years, but using it was left to the customer. At the same time there was no guarantee that the size system on the board matched the size system of the shoes. Anyone who has bought sports shoes/trainers recently will know that they have three or four different size numbers on the tongue of the shoe. This is because the shoes are made in Asia for sale all over the world where the basic unit of measurement differs – including different centimetre units.

In an attempt to bring some order and science into the art of shoe fitting, the South African Podiatry Association (SAPA) has been working with various manufacturers and retailers to establish standards for footwear in this country. There is a committee of experts headed by a podiatrist who has done ground-breaking original research into the feet of South African women. This committee assesses lasts(the plastic shape around which a shoe is built) and footwear design, against a checklist based on this scientific research.

One retailer is Woolworths and if you buy your child’s shoes there – although you will have to fit them yourself – you will see certain styles have the SAPA approval logo on the green tag. Look out for other large retailers getting involved in 2008.