Parents: Avoid kids' foot problems with the right shoes

Before you head to the store to buy your kids shoes, follow these helpful guidelines to prevent or minimize foot problems from poorly fitting or worn out shoes.

Shoes should fit

Your child’s feet can grow up to two sizes in six months, so you need to account for growth when buying shoes. That doesn’t mean you should buy shoes that are too big—oversized shoes cause the foot to slide forward, putting excessive pressure on the toes. A good fit is about a finger's width from the end of the shoe to the tip of the big toe.

Tight shoes can cause blisters, corns and calluses on your child’s toes, blisters on the back of the heels or worse, ingrown nails, which can become infected. Signs of infection from ingrown nails include pain, redness or fluid draining from the area. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle surgeon, who can perform a simple, safe in-office procedure to remove the nail.

Shoes wear out

kidsshoesShoes lose their shock absorption over time, so inspect new and old shoes for proper cushioning and arch support. Replace any shoes with wear and tear around the edges of the sole. When buying shoes, check to see that the toe box flexes easily and the shoe doesn’t bend in the middle of the sole.

Worn-out shoes elevate the risk for heel pain, Achilles tendonitis and even ankle sprains and stress fractures.

Children with flat feet

Children with flat feet need shoes with a wide toe box, maximum arch support and shock absorption. The best shoes to buy are oxford, lace-up shoes that have enough depth for an orthotic insert, if necessary.

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  • Founded in 1942, the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is a specialty medical society of more than 6,000 foot and ankle surgeons. All Fellows of the College are board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. OUR VISION IS CLEAR: To serve society as the preeminent source of knowledge for foot and ankle surgery. OUR MISSION IS SOLID: To advance the competency of our members and the care of our patients.
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