Category Archives: Baby feet

Buying new school shoes online? How to measure your children’s feet accurately .

Have your children outgrown their school shoes?

You can measure your children’s feet yourself at home. It doesn’t matter if they are six or sixteen (or sixty), correct fit is important for anyone at any age. Read on.

When children’s feet grow, they grow quickly.

In a child’s first three to four years, their feet grow about two sizes a year, although by the time they are school age, at five years old, it has slowed to around a size a year. Of course, rate of increase varies from child to child.

You can’t currently have feet measured professionally because shoe shops are currently closed and ordering online has become a necessity.

You can take the guesswork out of it by taking measurements at home. Here is how to do it.

It is essential to get your children’s shoe size right first time.

Shoes being too big can be as bad for your children’s feet as being too small.

Of course, every child’s foot is unique, but a well-fitting shoe not only protects foot development, keeping growing feet comfortable and healthy but gives children the confidence as they work and play.

How does home measurement work?

All you need is a printable foot gauge. Click here – and follow the instructions.

  • make sure your printer is set to 100% and not to scale
  • once it has printed use a ruler to check it’s correct
  • place the paper gauge on a flat, hard floor
  • ensure the heel is level with the ‘base line’
  • make sure your child is standing with both feet taking even weight
  • measure both feet, it is common for one foot to be a bit bigger than the other
  • note down the size to their largest toe (this isn’t always the big toe).
  • repeat on the other foot.
  • for the width, cut the width measure off the right side and wrap it around the thickest part of the foot – diagonally from the ball joint on their little toe to the ball joint on their big toe
  • buy a shoe with approximately 2cm growth room

If you don’t have a printer, you can use a piece of A4 paper and a ruler/tape to get the measurements.

What type of shoe should you choose for school?

With children recently spending so much time at home and no time at school they will have been wearing all sorts of shoes, wellingtons, crocs or no shoes at all.

It will be quite a contrast but they will benefit from leather shoes that are supportive, correctly measured, and that fasten securely to the their foot.

It is also a good idea for them to wear them around the house for a few hours in the days leading up to them going back to school.

How to check if your child’s shoes fit correctly?

Once you receive the new shoes – try them on, then –

  • do the check in the afternoon as feet can swell as the day passes
  • fastened them
  • make sure your child is standing
  • ensure the back of the foot is snugly against the heel of the shoe
  • press your thumb firmly down sideways on the front of your child’s shoe to see where their toes are
  • If you can’t feel the toe through the shoe, get your child to wiggle their foot
  • With the foot firmly against the back of the shoe there should be a gap of about 2cm or a thumbs width for growth
  • check the width is just right using a finger and thumb.
  • remember that sizes vary between brands.

Finally, give the shoe a tug as if trying to pull it off. If there is a little give, but it stays on then you know it is fitting correctly. In any case, your child will soon tell you if the shoe isn’t comfortable.

If you would like more information or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, give us a call on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Baby feet, shoes, bare feet and baby-grows

When should a baby start wearing shoes or should they wear them at all?

When it comes to baby feet, socks, shoes, baby-grows and bare feet there are so many questions. What is best? When should a baby start wearing shoes or should they wear them at all? How do you choose the best footwear?

At birth the human foot is not a miniature version of an adult foot actually containing no bones at all but merely consisting of a mass of cartilage, which, over a period of years, ossifies (turns to bone) to become the 28 bones that exist in the adult human foot.

This process is not complete until the late teens or early twenties, so it is crucial that footwear – when worn – is well chosen so it doesn’t compromise and change the shape of the young developing foot.

What is a shoe? and what do we mean by ‘footwear’?

‘Footwear’ in babies means anything that is used to cover the foot regardless of function. For example, in a new born until they start to stand, any foot covering whether it is socks shoes or baby-grow has a primary function of providing warmth.From a functional perspective, shoes aren’t really needed and there are more likely to be disadvantages and problems from wearing shoes than not wearing them – among them, deformation caused by a poor fit, ingrown toenails, and athlete’s foot.

When is a shoe a fashion accessory?

Manufacturers must take some responsibility for encouraging parents to treat their babies/children as fashion accessories and choose shoes on their attractiveness or coolness, rather than their fit or function.

There are exceptions of course. You have to consider the environment the child is in. You wouldn’t want your child walking on the streets or in the park barefoot, where there might be dog poo, dirt and possible hazards like glass would you? So common sense applies.

When to start with shoes

Wearing shoes at too young an age can hamper a child’s walking and cerebral development. Toddlers keep their heads up more when they are walking barefoot, The feedback they get from the ground means less need to look down, which otherwise puts them off balance and causes them to fall over.

Walking barefoot develops muscles and ligaments in the foot, increases the strength of the foot’s arches, improves proprioception (our unconscious awareness of where we are in relation to the space around us) and contributes to good posture.

The more parents know about the structure of children’s feet, the more we can prevent footwear-related damage being done.

What sort of damage?

Research published in podiatry journal ‘The Foot’ in 2007 suggested that structural and functional changes can result from the foot having to conform to the shape and constriction of a shoe, rather than being allowed to develop naturally.

And the younger the foot, the greater the potential for damage.

Not too rigid

Most children’s shoes are like awful little bricks – too stiff, too rigid, with no flexibility at the sole and too much heel raise. This is of particular concern with toddlers learning to walk, because it can cause them to bounce and tip forward.

A completely rigid shoe will restrict movement of the forefoot to zero. Kids this age should be turning cartwheels, skipping, climbing trees, running around. A shoe like this seriously restricts such playful physicality – make it less fun, and less enjoyable.

Size is important

Just as important is choosing the right size socks. Many parents dutifully check the size of their child’s shoes but never consider or know how to check the size of their socks.

How? Take hold of the toe and heel of the sock and without pulling or stretching it should meet around the child’s clenched fist. All socks should be checked regularly due to rapid growth but also because they can shrink during the washing and drying process.

Not to forget baby-grows?

Easily overlooked, baby-grows can place even more pressure on the feet and restrict growth, especially in a rapidly growing child. If you don’t want to replace the baby-grow then cut the seams at the feet to allow the feet to poke out and use socks for warmth.

…and bare-foot?

As a general rule, in the appropriate environment, whenever possible, bare foot is best in at least the first six years of a child’s life. There is no reason why this can’t extend to adults although common sense needs to be exercised with diabetics and anyone with peripheral neuropathy.

If you would like more information, to speak to one of our Podiatrists or to make an appointment then please call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01628 773588.

Caring for your feet and back during pregnancy

How do you care for your feet during pregnancy?

At Maidenhead Podiatry & Chiropractic Clinic we find foot and back care during pregnancy is often overlooked with treatment only being sought towards the end of term, and frequently only because backs seize up or feet can no longer be reached.

Our Chiropractors have a special interest in back and skeletal issues associated with pregnancy. This includes pre and post-partum.

Many changes occur during pregnancy but with forethought and planning they can be anticipated and managed as well as possible during this wonderful time. 

What changes?

Pregnancy means many changes in a woman’s body and there are common changes that develop over the nine month term.

Of these complaints, usually ignored, are changes to back, feet and foot pain.

A woman’s centre of gravity moves forward during pregnancy due to the natural weight gain. This leads to a new weight-bearing stance, leaning backwards to counter-balance the swelling abdomen, adding pressure in the back, knees and feet.

Back and foot care during this period is important and sometimes something as simple as exercises or a set of orthotics – specialist insoles – can bring relief and make life easier.

What are some of the common problems?

Common foot problems experienced by pregnant woman are over-pronation (rolling the foot inwards), oedema (swelling), and the build up of hard skin (callous) or corns as a direct consequence of increased pressure and friction.

This can lead to back an hip pain as well as pain in the heel, inner arch, or the ball-of-the-foot.

Many of these issues can be well managed at home with exercise, stretching and basic foot care. But sometimes it is best to seek the advice and treatment of a professional.

The roll of hormones

Relaxin is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the ovaries and placenta with important effects in the female reproductive system in preparation for childbirth, including relaxing the ligaments in the pelvis to facilitate birth.

This can increase back and hip pain leading to discomfort and soreness with standing and walking. Something our Chiropractors are familiar with and can provide comprehensive advice on treatment and management.

Relaxin also relaxes ligaments in the feet contributing to changes including pain and broadening of the foot. Changes to the shape of the feet during pregnancy are often permanent. Speak to one of our Podiatrists about managing foot pain.

Other changes

Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins largely due to the temporary weight gain of pregnancy.

Because of this, it is important to learn more about back and foot health during pregnancy to help make this nine month period more comfortable.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Chiropractors or Podiatrists, call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01629 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Choosing your baby’s first shoes

Choosing your baby’s first shoes is such an important purchase.

The Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry are often asked for advice on children’s foot wear and what to look for when buying their baby’s first shoes.

As parents know, most babies don’t stay in one place for very long.

What a fascinating place the world is, particularly if it’s all new to you……and then you learn to crawl.

First things first

 

By about four months most babies start to rock and roll, first from their side to their back, and back again.

Soon after they’ll start to lie with their upper body supported on one or both hands – all the better to see the world around them.

Next, they learn to sit.

At first, they can stay in place when you put them down for just a few seconds before tumbling back, but later they’ll be able to sit up for themselves as their muscles strengthen and coordination improves.

Babies then work out that by pushing down with hands to raise their upper body, they can pull themselves along.

Later, their legs join in too and then they’re off.

Crawling

At high speed too – they can crawl 400m in the time it takes you to drink a cup of tea.

Obviously not all babies are the same and some don’t crawl, instead they perform a rather curious bottom shuffling.

Don’t use a baby-walker – your baby will stand when they’re ready and baby-walkers won’t make it any sooner.

In fact, badly adjusted baby-walkers are thought to hinder development.

Cruising

“Cruising” comes between crawling and walking.

Having pulled themselves up on the furniture children slide their hands to one side, then their feet. This allows them to move their whole body.

To stay upright they will always keep either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in place.

At first they crawl when confronted with a gap between furniture.

However, as they grow they learn to cross by moving their feet into the gap and letting go to totter to the next support.

Walking

Between 9 and 18 months old, most children learn to walk, depending on development of muscular strength.

But don’t hurry them or become anxious – your child is an individual and will walk as soon as they are ready.

First steps on a very long road.

First shoes

As soon as your child can take a few steps unaided then they are ready for their first pair of real shoes.

When choosing your child’s first shoes try and find a shop with a trained fitter.

Then look for these features in the shoes you choose –

  • close cropped soles to prevent tripping
  • space for movement and growth built in
  • soft leather uppers for cool comfortable feet
  • light, flexible soles to aid development of walking
  • whole and half sizes and a choice of widths to find the correct fit
  • fully adjustable fastenings
  • padded ankle for protection and support

At this age most children learn to run and perform little standing jumps.

Once they reach this stage you will need shoes that can take some punishment and still look good.

Infant shoes need room to grow without sacrificing fit.

Toddler

As your child grows, you will pass many other milestones together. First birthday, first words, as well as other occasions.

While all this is happening your child’s feet and their walking continue to develop all the time.

By the time your child is a fully-fledged toddler they will clearly walk very differently from when they took those first steps.

Arms are no longer used for balance so they can be used to pick up (and throw down!) things that catch their eye.

Knees and feet now point forward as the hip joints are fully in place.

Ankles and knees now flex too, reducing the shock that leads to head movement and, in turn, tumbles.

However walking is still flat footed (which is what can make can make toddlers look clumsy) so light and flexible soles are still vital.

Don’t be concerned by their feet appearing ‘flat’ at this age as it is all part of  a developing foot.

If you would like any more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists call 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Feet and pregnancy

How your feet change during pregnancy

How can you look after and care for your feet during pregnancy?

At Maidenhead Podiatry we find foot care during pregnancy is often overlooked with treatment only being sought towards the end of term, and frequently only because feet can no longer be reached.

Anti-natal classes provide lots of information and education about the changes to your body during pregnancy but they rarely include the changes that can take place with your feet     

Why do the feet change?

Pregnancy means many changes in a woman’s body and there are common changes that develop over the nine month term. Over the course of a pregnancy the body produces increasing amounts of the hormone relaxin.

Relaxin is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the ovaries and placenta with important effects in the female reproductive system in preparation for childbirth, including relaxing the ligaments in the pelvis to facilitate birth.

The action of relaxin on the soft tissue support structures of the feet combined with gradual weight gain can lead to foot pain as ligaments in the feet relax contributing to changes including pain and broadening of the foot.

Changes to the shape of the feet during pregnancy are often permanent.

This means that your favourite shoes may not fit your any more once you hear the pitter patter of tiny feet.

How do feet change?

A woman’s centre of gravity moves forward during pregnancy due to the natural pregnancy weight gain in the area of the pelvis and abdomen.

This leads to a new weight-bearing stance and often changes the way you walk, adding pressure in the hips, knees and feet. Often a simple set of orthotics can bring relief and make life easier but professional guidance is recommended.

Other common foot problems experienced by pregnant woman are over- pronation (rolling the foot inwards), odema (swelling), and the build up of hard skin (callous) or corns as a direct consequence of increased pressure and friction.

This can lead to pain in the heel, inner arch, or the ball-of-foot, often worse in the mornings on rising or after periods of rest such as sitting and having a coffee.

Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins largely due to weight gain.

Because of this, it is important to learn more about foot health during pregnancy to help make this nine month period more comfortable.

What can you do and what can we do for you?

Some of the changes are inevitable but there are things you can do to accommodate your feet and make them more comfortable including –

  • put your feet ‘up’ when you can
  • wear shoes that allow for the changes
  • avoid heels
  • avoid flat shoes – a modest heel will be most comfortable
  • use foot cream regularly to keep the skin supple
  • visit a podiatrist for general footcare and nail cutting

A visit to a podiatrist will ensure you are doing the best to care for your feet and you will be given advice on how to continue that care before and after pregnancy.

At Maidenhead Podiatry we can treat and tidy the feet removing hard skin and callus and trimming and burring the nails. We can also give advice on bio-mechanical and gait changes and foot wear choices.

In addition, one of our Chiropractors, Lucy Steele‘s passion lies in the care of pregnant women, babies and children, and most of her post-graduate training has been in these areas. So, if back and/or pelvic pain is your problem Lucy will be pleased to help..

If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists, or Chiropractors call Maidenhead Podiatry on 01629 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

My child has flat feet – do I need to worry?

Flat feet in children

As Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry, we are often asked to look at the feet of young children as their parents ask – ‘My child has flat feet – do I need to worry?’.

All typically developing children are born with flexible flat feet. However, they progressively develop a medial longitudinal arch (the arch that runs down the inside of the foot) during the first decade of their lives.

While a child’s foot is expected to be flat, there is currently no consensus as to how flat this foot should be and while feet are seen to decrease in flatness with increasing age, it is not known how flat they should be at each any given age.

So, is it possible to define the postural characteristics, how flat is too flat and what is to be expected? What is a ‘typically’ developing paediatric (child’s) foot?

One way to is to compare all data currently published describing the typical development of the paediatric foot.

Looking at thirty-four epidemiological (incidence, distribution, and control) papers regarding the development of the paediatric foot, sixteen different common foot posture assessments were identified which used a footprint to measure the reported outcome.

What resulted were some interesting conclusions.

Firstly, the use of the term normal in relation to foot posture is misleading.

There is no such thing as normal in the categorisation of the paediatric foot, a flat foot posture is an expected finding at different ages.

Secondly, the foot posture of the developing child is indeed age-dependent and has been observed and demonstrated to change over time.

Therefore no firm conclusion can be reached as to which age the foot posture of children ceases to develop further because no two foot measures are comparable.

One of the problems with current research is that there is no consensus on how to measurement of the paediatric foot, using valid and reliable assessment tools.

What this means for parents is that if they are concerned about their children’s feet being too flat, they need to consult a Podiatrist so that each case can be assessed on its own merits.

If you would like more information, to make an appointment or to speak to one of our Podiatrist then call our reception team on 01628 773588 or email us at info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk