kids trying on school shoesThe start of a new school year brings about two certainties: new clothes and new shoes. Today there are more choices than ever before shoe types, styles and fit.

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) is offering helpful guidelines  outlined in this quick-reference infographic to help minimize foot problems caused by poorly fitting or worn out shoes.

Basic Rules:

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. Foot and ankle surgeons suggest 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

Shoes lose their shock absorption over time, so inspect new and old shoes for proper cushioning and arch support. Foot and ankle surgeons caution, worn-out shoes elevate the risk for heel pain, Achilles tendonitis and even ankle sprains and stress fractures. 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.

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.

For more information on your children’s foot and ankle health or to schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle surgeon in your area, visit the American College of Foot and Surgeons’ patient education website at FootHealthFacts.org.

Geraldine Jensen

Publisher and Editor of Families Online Magazine. Our experts provide warm, loving, and generous advice for you, your family and children, no matter their age -- infants, school age, 'tweens, and teenagers. Features include:Parenting, Ages and Stages of Child Development, Child Support, Cooking, Health, Children's Books, Nutrition, Christian Parenting, Relationships, Green-living, Education and School

Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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