Back to School
by Kate Dansie
Why the perfect shoe is important in the back to school rush!
Wearing ill-fitting shoes can have a negative impact on your child’s health. Bones in children’s feet are still developing and are therefore far more vulnerable to stresses when compared to adults. Shoes that are Ill-fitting are likely to cause problems for bone growth and development, as well as issues with the child’s gait, posture and stability.
While you are getting your child prepared for the school year, don’t forget the importance of the shoes that will be carrying them around all day.
- Ensure that the shoes have ample adjustment in the form of buckles, shoelaces or Velcro straps. This will help to hold the shoe to the foot and allow the child to walk, run and play comfortably, without the shoes tripping them up.
- Make sure that the feet are properly measured when buying new school shoes. Different shoe manufactures use different sizes, so don’t assume that you know you child’s shoe size, have their feet measured in every shop you visit.
- Buy shoes made from natural materials, as they allow feet to breathe and reduce the build- up of potentially harmful bacteria.
- The innersole of the shoe should fit the shoe and should be firm with arch support that is comfortable and prevents the foot from rolling in or out.
- Soles should provide plenty of shock absorption to the balls of the feet and the heels to help soften the impact of running and jumping.
- Slip-on shoes are a big no-no. The muscles and tendons of the feet are potentially forced to work much harder to keep the shoes from falling off and they often scrunch the toes to help keep the shoes on. This can lead to pain and serious deformities of the toes and arches, as well as long-term problems with overuse disorders.
- Straggly edges, seams or stitching on the material inside the shoe can cause injury from constant rubbing and should be avoided. Check the inside of the shoe with your fingers to feel for any sharp or uneven edges and don’t buy shoes that aren’t smooth to touch as they will irritate your child’s feet and cause friction injuries such as blisters.
Perfect fit guide to select new school shoes for your child:
- Length: new shoes should be around a thumb’s width longer than your child’s longest toe.
- Width: shoes should fit without constricting the sides of the feet or the toes. Little feet need room to move and shoes should have a wide and deep toe box to allow kids to wriggle their toes comfortably.
- Height: heels should have a broad base and heel height should never be more than 4cm.
- Ankle grip: the top of the shoe should fit around the ankle without rubbing.
- Heel fit: the heel of the shoe should grip comfortably around the heel.
- Comfort: your child should be able to walk and move naturally in the shoes without any changed behaviour or unusual walking patterns.
by Kate Dansie
Women often make sacrifices for foot fashion, but at what price?
The perfect pair of heels can make an outfit, but with this style comes much suffering!
Many women wear high heels on a regular basis saying that they feel more feminine, confident and sexy. Unfortunately these perceived benefits can come at a huge cost to your short and long term foot health.
Studies have shown that wearing heels can have negative effects on your spine, hips, knees, ankles and feet while altering your posture and gait. Wearing heels higher than 2 inches on a regular basis can lead to adaptation of the muscles and tendons in the back and lower limbs. Calf muscles can tighten and shorten in habitual high heel wearers making them more prone to injury especially when switching from heels to bare feet or gym shoes.
There is an obvious risk of falls causing sprains and fractures especially when you mix high heels with alcohol and dancing!
Abnormal pressure areas placed on the foot by high heels may lead to other foot issues such as corns, callus, blisters, neuromas, bursitis and general overuse, especially of the forefoot.
Podiatry at Kinetic Rehabilitation and performance recommend the following tips regarding high heels:
- Try to limit your heels to less than 2 inches with a broad heel for stability.
- Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time especially if you plan on walking or standing for long periods.
- Stretch your calf muscles daily to help prevent injury.
- Buy a variety of shoes and alternate your shoes with more sensible footwear when possible.
- Buy your shoes in the afternoon, when your feet are their largest.
- Opt for shoes with leather insoles to prevent your foot from slipping.
- The slope of the shoe is more important than heel height when it comes to comfort. Look for a platform shoe to decrease the angle between the heel and the ball of the foot.
- See your podiatrist for footwear advice and treatment of any foot problems.
It’s all about moderation, too much of anything can be bad for you!
by Kate Dansie
For most of us, cracked heels are unsightly summer embarrassment that only seem to get worse as the warm months continue! The heels of our feet are under extra pressure in the summer months from hot, dry conditions and hard skin and calluses can develop quickly in these conditions, and without adequate care can quickly become dry and cracked. Cracked heels are often embarrassing and sometimes painful, they should always be taken seriously due to the health risks associated with infection if the heels start to split and bleed!
The use of inappropriate footwear in summer, such as thongs and flimsy sandals, can increase the risk for cracked heels due to rubbing, pressure and exposure of the heel to hot conditions that cause the heel to dry out.
Hot weather isn’t the only culprit when it comes to cracked heels – loading pressure on the heels that require them to be able to stretch and expand can cause cracks if the skin doesn’t have the required elasticity to cope. Standing for long periods of time, being pregnant or overweight can also add pressure to the heels and lead to cracking.
Underlying medical conditions such as lymphoma, diabetes, kidney disease and thyroid problems can cause dry, cracked heels and exacerbate the problem. Skin conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema can also contribute to cracked heels.
Tips to heal and prevent cracked heels
- Apply a generous layer of moisturiser to your heels at the beginning of each day. The moisturiser will help to prevent cracking during the day and will allow your heels to recover overnight.
- Wear shoes when walking around, especially when walking on hot surfaces that can sap your feet of moisture and cause cracking.
- Use an emery board or a pumice stone after a shower to remove hard skin from around the heel area.
- If serious cracks develop, apply moisturiser and cover the area with sports tape to hold the moisture in and prevent the crack from getting worse. Do not attempt self-treatment if you have diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease and /or kidney disease – apply a dressing and see your podiatrist or GP, as the area can quickly deteriorate into an ulceration.
- If the skin splits and bleeds apply antiseptic to prevent infection and keep it protected until it heals.
- Seek professional help form a podiatrist if cracked heels continue to be a problem; a podiatrist can treat cracked heels effectively to get them smooth and soft for the remainder of the summer.
Sports Podiatry + Pronation
by Kate Dansie
As we all know playing sport invariably comes with its own set of injuries, no matter what you’re getting involved in. High-impact sports such as netball, basketball, running, soccer or any sport involving your feet can lead to injuries needing specialist treatment. Sports podiatry looks specifically at injuries to the foot, ankle and lower leg sustained through participation in physical activity.
When you run, your foot hits the ground in a very specific pattern. The outside of your heel takes initial impact and then your foot turns inward to spread the impact across the front of your foot. This slight roll is called pronation and is how our feet absorb shock and adjust to uneven terrain. Over or under-pronating, however, can lead to serious injury, especially when this movement is repeated through regular sport.
Over-pronation is a common problem among athletes, which leads to joint misalignment, as your feet are constantly moving in a way that is less efficient and your joints realign themselves to compensate for this change. People with low arches often suffer from problems of over-pronation.
Over-pronation increases strain on muscles and tendons as they have to work double-time to provide extra support to your joints. The most common injuries that result from over pronation include sprained ankles and torn tendons and ligaments as your foot is rolling out too far, providing unstable support . Achilles tendonitis, knee injuries and shin splints can all be attributed to over-pronation as these are all repetitive strain injuries caused by huge amounts of added pressure being placed on those areas.
Podiatrists can evaluate the movement of not only your feet, but also your ankles, knees and hips to determine the degree of over-pronation and provide treatment to help restore a natural degree of pronation in your stride. Usually this would involve looking at your sports shoes and the fitting of a custom made orthotic device to provide extra support and reduce the strain on your muscles, tendons and ligaments. Orthotic devices are inserts that are placed inside your shoes to adjust imbalances and help reduce pain and discomfort so you can get out there and enjoy the sports you love.
For optimal recovery after a sports-related injury a podiatrist can give you the help you need to get back on the playing field.