Right foot forward

With end-of-term school holidays officially over and the back-to-school rush here, podiatry experts at the University of South Australia (UniSA) are encouraging parents to get their children’s school shoes professional fitted, as new research has shown that shoes that don’t fit properly can significantly inhibit foot movement and comfort.

As part of this latest study, researchers tested the effect of shoe size on foot motion and comfort among children aged eight to 12 years and found that shoes to were one size too small restricted the normal movement of the heel, arch and the big toe joint during walking.

Lead researcher and musculoskeletal expert, Dr John Arnold from UniSA says that shoes that fit well are important to help your child feel comfortable at school.

“If a child’s shoes don’t fit well, they’re likely to experience discomfort and pain, which can impact their participation and enjoyment of everyday activities such as play and sport,” says Dr Arnold.

“Importantly, our research found that when children’s shoes were too small, they restricted foot and joint movements, which could create problems for children’s feet in the future.”

Rule of thumb

For those unsure of how to determine whether a shoe will fit properly, the study also confirms that a comfortable show fit can be determined by a ‘rule of thumb’.

Using the ‘rule of thumb’ – the wearer’s thumb width from their longest toe to the end of their shoe is an effective and accurate measure for comfortable fit, according to the researchers.

Co-researcher and podiatry expert, Dr Helen Banwell from UniSA adds that while the rush of back-to-school often makes it easy to “overlook the purchase of new shoes”, if they’re required, “parents cannot afford to overlook the benefits of a well-fitted school shoe”.

To read the research, visit: sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0966636221001478?via%3Dihub

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