As a child's feet continue to grown and become stronger, parents should continue to watch for the development of their feet . Observe your child's walking patterns. Do his/her toes point in or out? Does your child have knock knees? Do they complain of pain in their legs or feet? Do they fall or trip frequently? Do their shoes wear unevenly? Do they have skin or toenail problems? Children don't always complain about foot discomfort. Scheduling an annual foot exam with your family podiatric physician is a good way to determine if a problem exists and establish a baseline for future care.
If your child is involved in any sports or fitness activities and complains of foot or ankle pain, do not dismiss it. Injuries to young athletes can result in chronic or more serious problems later in life.
Although most foot problems result from injury, deformity, illness or hereditary problems, improper foot gear can aggravate a pre-existing condition. Comfort should always come first when helping your child decide on which new and exciting footwear styles to choose. Keep these tips in mind when shopping for new shoes and remember that the most important singular property of shoes is their fit.
Always measure your child’s feet.Every shoe fits differently, and sizes vary by brand and style. It may also be necessary to change shoes every few months if your child is growing.
Shop later in the day.Feet expand when you walk and tend to swell throughout the day. So, buy shoes in the afternoon or early evening after your child’s feet have already increased in size.
Bring socks or tights.It’s important that your child try shoes on with the same type of socks or tights that will be worn with their shoes.
Buy for the larger foot.Feet are seldom the same size. Buy shoes that ensure comfort for both feet.
Check shoes for quality.First, look for a stiff heel by pressing on both sides of the heel; it should not collapse. Next, check for toe flexibility. The shoe should bend with your toes, and should not be too stiff or bend too much. Lastly, check to see if the shoe is rigid in the middle. It should never twist. Remember, a high-priced shoe does not indicate quality.
Pick shoes that do not need a "break-in" period.The shoes you purchase should be comfortable right away. If shoes are too tight, they can cause blisters, calluses or corns.
Never hand down footwear.Just because a shoe fits one child comfortably, does not mean they’ll fit another the same way. Handing down shoes also encourages the growth and spreading of fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungi.