Parents are anxious about the health and overall growth of their child. They tend to show concern at the slightest sign of any abnormal behavior in their children, with reference to their eating habits, their digestive system, the way they walk, run, talk, morale of the child, and even about familiarizing their child with the newly appointed nanny. As a result, if the child walks or runs in a distinctive style, parents suspect abnormality or foot problems, which in most cases is neither. Yet some children have flat feet, bowed feet, clubbed feet, out-toeing or in-toeing feet. These are indeed common problems, associated with children. In such cases, a pediatrician or orthopedic prescribes corrective shoes that help correct the problem that aids in normal foot growth. However, when you are out to buy shoes for your child, there are certain factors that you must keep in mind.
What Can You Do for Your Child's Optimum Foot Development
Your child's feet takes a considerable period to develop well, so that, as they grow, they do not endure disturbances while walking or running. The best way to avert the possibilities in children; of them developing a clumsy gait, is to let them walk barefoot most of the time. Research supports that during child's feet development years, the footwear you buy for your child, plays a vital role. The footwear administered at this stage of development, has the potential to cause imbalances in the gait, along with chronic back pain and other deformities that causes unnecessary stress on parts of the foot. A research paper conducted by Caleb Wegener et al. hailing from the University of Sydney, Australia, claim to have studied how shoes may affect the "gait of children" and that children gather a tendency to take longer strides while walking or running. They suggest that shoes must be designed and manufactured mimicking the comfort, gait and flexibility that walking on barefoot may provide. Moreover, the overall weight of the shoe is also a factor worth a mention. Thus, parents must pay attention and consciously select shoes that deliver a comfortable gait.
Corrective Shoes for Kids
When you have to select corrective shoes for your child to free them of slight foot deformities, you must look into certain common factors before you choose one. Pick the pair only if:
- Your child is comfortable with the shoes and feels comfortable even whilst walking around for trial.
- There is enough room for the toe, and the little finger does not get crouched with pressure.
- The anterior section of the shoe is rounded and has room to accommodate the toes comfortably.
- Avoid buying shoes that have a pointed or receding shoe box.
- The heel should not be hurt due to the posterior section of the shoe.
- The shoes should not sport heels. Slight heels are ideal for an occasion, however, buying shoes that have high heels should be discouraged.
Features of Custom-made Corrective Shoes
Corrective shoes, also known as orthopedic shoes for toddlers, is a pair employed to counter any deformity in the child's feet. Orthopedic shoes are available for children as well as adults. Orthopedic shoes for toddlers are beneficial to counter troubles such as clubbed feet, out-toeing, in-toeing, bowed feet and flat feet. They are available in the market as well. If the buy has helped your child and you have noticed improvement, there is no need to visit a physician. However, it is when the severity of the condition increases, that a physician has to be informed. There are custom-made shoes prescribed by a podiatrist or a physician. Foot troubles may gradually recede as the child grows, however if your child complains of pain and discomfort due to any of the above-mentioned foot conditions, custom-made corrective shoes would be prescribed.
Slip-resistant or skid-resistant soles, thereby prevent falls, also promising comfort while your child is walking or running. With slip resistance, the shoes are custom-made with a straight last so that children who are pigeon-toed may have the twist in their foot corrected. The soles of a good corrective shoe pair should be flexible, by this, I do not mean the sole has to be soft, not bearing the weight resulting in cracks and stunted shoe shape. The flexibility of the soles lies in the spatial mobility that it provides to the foot. It could become very painful if the shoes restrict the child from moving his feet comfortably, thereby causing the foot to get scratched by the ankle which results in causing sores and pain in the heel, leading to excessive pain and discomfort.
Shoe bars or splints are devices that can be maneuvered through while the child is standing or walking. They are adjustable mechanical devices that correct the positioning of the foot. Friedman Bar is a bar made predominantly of leather. It is a mechanical bar that can be adjusted and attached at the rear end of the heels to correct in-toeing and out-toeing. A type of splint called the Gottler Splint is placed in the corrective shoe to position the foot and thereby control in-toeing.
Corrective shoes are flexible; and they are flexible at the right place. The anterior part of the shoe should be pressed and slightly folded. The toe box is also made rounded and has enough room for your child to move his feet. The podiatrist may also prescribe scaphoid pads to be inserted in the orthopedic shoes for toddlers. Scaphoid pads can be inserted to make the shoe soles softer to reduce the pain that occurs due to bowed feet or clubbed feet.
Heel Size and Inclusion of Wedges
The heel size does matter. They may have heels, however, the heels are slight. Excessive heels could force your child to strain your foot or force him/her to walk on his/her toes. An ideal corrective shoe feature is the distribution of body weight throughout the surface of the shoe, so that the concentration is not laid on a specific foot site. Also with the installation of wedges on the outsides of the shoe; it may help to correct out-toeing. Medial and lateral Dutchman are one of the most important and helpful wedges placed on the exteriors of the soles correcting out-toeing. The wedges do not come in direct contact with the foot; they are on the contrary, placed on the margins of the shoe.
A comfortable arch support is an important inclusion in custom-made corrective shoes for flat feet. Make sure that the shoes have arches that are flexible and can support children's weight along with the rough and tough activities that they pursue. With a good arch support, flat feet can be corrected to a large extent, thereby also reducing the pain. An adequate arch support can also correct in-toeing. The podiatrist may also prescribe shoes that have longitudinal medial counters that are made of firm leather that increase the arch support to correct flat feet. It is an internal shoe modification device that is also helpful in correcting the slant caused by in-toeing.
Even after buying and using custom-made corrective shoes, your child continues to complains of foot problems like leg aches, ankle stubbornness, it is imperative that you consult a medical expert who may be able to suggest some other remedies or treatment methods to improve the condition in question.