Remember the old nursery rhyme; "the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bones connected to the leg bone, the leg bones’ connected to the hip bone"…This is absolutely true! Feet and especially children’s feet can’t be considered in isolation to the rest of the body.  Any problems with feet can have an effect further up the body, causing issues with posture and walking style and even leading to what some people think of as growing pains.  Just like the foundations of a house, it’s therefore really important to put the right protective packaging around children’s feet and to check them once every eight weeks.  

Our consulting podiatrist Helen Crawford, from the Osteopathy and Podiatry Centre has outlined 10 top tips for parents to help their children put their best foot forwards:

- Always have your child’s feet measured for length and width using a proper measuring gauge

- Use the simple Rule of Thumb technique to see when it’s time for a shiny new pair. A newly fitted shoe will be 12 – 14mm longer than the longest toe to allow for growth. Shoes that are only 5mm longer should be replaced

- When living in a hot climate choose shoes made from natural material (leather) to stop feet getting hot and sweaty

- Check the size of socks and tights (heel and length) – particularly as washing / drying can cause them to shrink over time and even socks can damage delicate feet

- Inspect children’s shoes for unusual signs of wear and tear (which may indicate a problem with foot or general posture) and seek advice from a podiatrist if you are concerned

-If possible, try to alternate kids shoes to allow them to dry out 

- Use the opportunity of a tickle to have a good look at children’s feet on a regular basis.  Inflamed nails, red pressure marks or blisters are a sign that there’s a problem with shoes

- Whilst it’s fine to hand down occasional shoes such as pretty party shoes or those which have rarely been worn, it’s best not to hand shoes down amongst siblings or friends as no two pairs of feet are alike

- Children have naturally sweaty feet, but smelly feet may mean poor hygiene. Wash feet daily with simple soap and water and dry well

- Never force children’s feet into shoes, no matter what their age, as their bones are not fully developed until their late teens and ill-fitted shoes can cause misshaped feet for years to come