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Footwear Advice for Children

Parents so often worry about their children’s teeth, eyes, and most other parts of the body, but do not worry so much over the developing foot. As numerous adult foot conditions can have their beginnings when people are young, awareness to shoes in kids can minimize the risk of these issues in adults.

Significance of the footwear to the child:
Badly fitting children’s shoes can cause a number of conditions in adults such as hammer toes, ingrown toe nails, foot corns, calluses and deformed joints. Considering the high level of discomfort and pain that these disorders can cause, it is obviously logical to attempt to prevent these disorders by ensuring that the child’s footwear is fitted properly. Foot conditions in kids are usually possible to avoid.

Fitting shoes for the child:
The most important factor in footwear for a child is that they fit. Preferably, this means that shoes are fitted by someone who has had some special training in the fitting of children’s shoes.

Advice for the fitting of children’s footwear:
* Children should have their feet measured around every 3 months (thus making sure the need for new footwear as required).
* Generally, for a shoe to be accurately fitted, there should be a thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of the longest toe.
* When viewing the bottom (sole) of the shoe, it ought to be somewhat straight (not curved in too much) – feet are straight, so the shoe should be straight.
* The fastening mechanism (laces, velcro, buckles) must hold the heel securely in the back of the shoe (the foot really should not be able to slip forward in the shoe).
* the heel counter (back part of the shoe) should be robust and stable.
* the footwear should be flexible across the ball of the foot, since this is where the foot bends.
* Leather and canvas are a better material – these are more robust and can breathe. Artificial materials tend not to breathe as well, unless they are of the ‘open weave’ variety. Steer clear of plastics.
* Make certain the footwear have curved toe boxes to allow the toes more room to move.
* Shoes should not need to be “broken in”. If they do, they can be either poorly designed or inadequately fitted.
* An absorbing insole is useful, as the feet can sweat a lot – children are quite active!
* Numerous retailers specialise in footwear for the child – use them!
* Fitting footwear correctly in adults is also just as important

Three tips for examining the child’s footwear:
There has to be a thumb width between the end of the footwear and the end of the longest toe = length is proper.
You ought to be able to pinch the upper of the footwear between your thumb and forefinger (this may depend on the nature of the material) = width is correct.
Does the shoe fit snugly around the heel and arch? How stable is the footwear when trying to ‘pull off’ the shoe? = good fit.

What is Gower’s Sign?

Gowers sign is common in conditions that involve a proximal muscles weakness. The sign involves the child starting from a prone position and then using the hands to walk up the legs.

The most common condition that Gowers sign occurs in is Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy and it is an early sign. The sign is almost pathognomic for Duchennes, but can occur in any problem in which there is a weakness of the pelvic or proximal muscles.

Burden of Proof fallacy

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The Foot and Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects the spine. Sometimes joint outside the spine are affected and some other structures can also be affected. It is part of the group of conditions known as the spondyloarthropathies. It is more common in males and usualyy starts in teh 20’s or 30’s. The most common initial symptoms are a mild ache in the low back. Occasionally the foot is affected.

In the foot anylosing spondylitis can cause heel pain and and arthritis like pain in the small joints of the foot. Of particular concern to those who are severely affected in the spine is the difficulty in being able to reach the feet to do self care.

The treatment of ankylosing spondylitis is with ant-inflammatory medication and if there is deformity in the spine, surgery.

A Podiatry friend in Australia

A huge shout out to my some of my friends who work at Croydon Total Footcare in Melbourne, Australia.

They have plenty of listings and reviews online. You can see more about what others think in these listings at Hot Frog, Google+ , Start Local, Bing Local, True Local, WhereIs, Yelp, Podiatry Online, Podiatrists Online, Yellow Pages, Tradeshow and at Facebook.

Check them out!