As the end of summer rapidly approaches, families begin to focus on getting ready to go back to school. At Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS, we often see an increase in visits for children once the new school year starts. Oftentimes switching from summer activities to more regimented fall schedules can result in pediatric foot pain. Here are some ways to help ease the transition for your children’s feet:
Get back to shoes—many children spend the majority of the summer in flip flops or running barefoot. Having to go back to wearing shoes or sneakers every day can cause foot pain for the first couple of weeks, sometimes leading children and parents to worry that something is wrong with their feet. During the last few weeks before school starts have your child start wearing their school shoes or sneakers for a few hours a day if possible.
Check for fit—it’s not unusual for children’s feet to grow a whole size over the summer. Have your child try on their shoes and check the toe box—there should be at least a finger’s width of space (about ½ an inch) between the longest toe and the front of the shoe and your child should be able to freely wiggle their toes in the shoes. Also check shoes for wear—the heel should fit snugly and you should not be able to squeeze the two sides together. Worn away treads or tears in fabric can create tripping hazards.
If it’s time for a new pair of shoes be sure to get your both of your child’s feet measured professionally and have him or her take the time to try on shoes and walk around the store a while to ensure proper fit and comfort.
Move it—if your child has spent a more sedentary summer playing video games on the couch, turn off the screen and get them walking, running or doing some activity that will start to stretch and exercise the feet and Achilles tendons. This will help alleviate foot pain and reduce the risk of injury when they start to play fall sports.