The formation of child’s feet is closely connected to the choice of the baby’s first pair of shoes.
Approximately 98% of all children are born with healthy feet. But when they reach the age of maturity, 40% of them tend to have various feet abnormalities, with a surprising 12% of the cases no longer amenable to conservative treatment. In addition, the improperly formed foot arches predispose feet to the loss of cushioning properties, which can lead to knee or hip joint challenges, as well as potentially spinal problems. One of the main causes of such abnormalities, in addition to genetic inheritance, is in fact the poor quality of a child’s first pairs of shoes.
The physiological process of foot formation is gradual. Up to the age of one year, a child has a chain of reflex reactions, which allows the muscles to be formed properly to perform simple movements. When active walking starts, the load on foot muscles increases, but due to the generally flat floor in apartments and the lack of dynamic loads, muscles perform only static functions. Therefore orthopedists recommend footwear with arch support (a pad on the shoe’s insole) and a high heel collar, which eliminates unwanted heel and ankle lateral movement. The sole should be sufficiently firm for the arch support to fully perform its function. At the same time, we should not forget that dynamic load is very important for our feet: it can be easily achieved by walking bare foot on the rocks, grass and ground, or in fitness or gymnastic exercises.
What is important to remember when choosing shoes:
• The foot is bigger in a standing position than in a prone or sitting position, as the weight of the body extends the foot approximately 3-6 mm. Therefore, all measurements and fittings should be done only in a standing position;
• A physical space or shoe size reserve should not exceed 7 mm. This will ensure the correct development and formation of the child’s foot during one season. If the reserve is bigger the longitudinal and transverse arch supports are displaced and do not perform their true functions;
• If wearing shoes causes deformations in the forepart or back part of the foot, wearing such shoes in the future is not recommended and they should be replaced with a new pair.
Properly chosen quality children’s shoes will contribute to the healthy growth and development of your child and will prevent many orthopedic problems in the future!