Children's feet and consequences of wrong footwear 🦶🏻
Show me your feet, show me your shoes Once toddlers stand on their own feet for the first time, a new era in their development begins. At this moment, when the child is first on the vertical, his feet are very likely to be perfectly healthy, even perfect. This is the case for almost 100% of all children. But although about 98 percent of all people are born with healthy feet, only 40 percent of them still have healthy feet when they are adults. However, if we look at the foot health of children of kindergarten or school age, the following picture emerges:
Many children cannot grip with their toes, find it difficult to hop and do not stand securely on one leg. The feet show a wide variety of deformities, such as flat feet or bent feet. However, these are not the biggest problems children can have with their feet.
It is rather the lack of movement and the frequent wearing of shoes that are too small, which affects children's feet.
Incorrect footwear as a cause of postural deformities According to international studies, 65-90% of children wear inappropriate shoes. They are too small, too big, too stiff, too heavy, worn out or air-impermeable. In 95% of the shoes, the inside length of the shoe was shorter than the shoe size would have suggested. The problem here is that children's feet are still soft, malleable and less sensitive to pain. So, unfortunately, the little ones do not notice when the shoes fit poorly.
Unfortunately, this is still too little known, because a large proportion of children and adolescents suffer from foot weaknesses and even incipient foot damage - caused by incorrect footwear, which ultimately leads to postural deformities. The earlier these problems occur, the more negative the effect on the overall, physical development of the adolescent. Healthy start -> abandonment of shoes
During the first twelve months of life, sturdy shoes are not necessary.
The most important rule in infancy is therefore: shoes off! The less often little feet are in shoes, the easier it is for them to develop healthily since the musculoskeletal system is still weak and unstable. You can even do without socks because they reduce the stimulation of the receptors located in the sole of the foot. They play a crucial role in the development of strong foot muscles and the formation of sensorimotor skills, so ideally just let them run barefoot.
First attempts at walking -> unrestricted flexibility required When the child starts to walk, parents should ensure that the first shoe has a high degree of material flexibility and stability. This allows the foot to move without restriction.
In addition, the foot should be able to "feel" the ground, which triggers additional positive stimuli. All this helps to prevent the widespread childish bent splayfoot.
CHECKLIST children's shoes
· Accurate fit in length, width and height
· Sole: non-slip, flexible (in all directions) and soft (maximum feedback from the ground)
· Easy to put on and take off
· Light weight
· A cushioning and soft upper
· A comfortable and flexible heel counter (guiding the rear foot) for a perfect fit in the shoe
· Freedom from harmful substances
Important to know: Children's feet grow in stages, sometimes up to three sizes per year. The size should therefore be checked at least every three months in the beginning.
The thumb test on the toe of the shoe does not work with children, because they reflexively pull in their toes. In any case, children should already walk around with the shoes in the store. If they stumble in the process, keep your fingers away from these shoes!
Early school-age -> supporting natural development
By the time children reach school age, the foot is fully developed, i.e. the foot and leg axis stabilizers (musculature, ligaments, foot skeleton), which are so important for the entire body statics, have then ideally developed sufficiently, i.e. longitudinal and transverse arching on the foot have formed, the leg axes work functionally and correctly. Footwear should support the natural development of the foot and promote an active and playful lifestyle. Further debt child age -> fit essential
The next important phase in their development is the middle to late school age. The growth in length is slower, but the young person grows more in width. The right footwear can also alleviate or even prevent classic foot and posture problems. A correct fit is extremely important because without healthy and strong feet, an upright posture and, in the long term, back health is not possible.