Back to School with Healthy Feet

Long Island Podiatrist Gets Kids Back to School with Healthy Feet

The days are getting shorter and the stores are full of back-to-school specials. Before you start checking things off your school-year preparation lists, the Podiatrists at Great Neck Family Foot Care would like to encourage you to take a couple minutes and consider how to support your child’s foot health.

Dr. Alec Hochstein wants to remind you: Healthy Feet Matter!

As your child gets ready for school sports teams or even just structured PE classes, it’s important for you as a parent to be aware of the important function that feet and ankles serve. If one of the “growth plates” in the foot bones is damaged, the bone may grow improperly and cause deformities later on. Lifelong problems with the back and legs sometimes have their origins in children’s foot problems as well, and organized sports activities can pose many challenges to growing feet. Seeing your Long Island Podiatrist can help prevent these future problems.

Additionally, healthy pain-free feet are crucial to a young person’s future cardiac health.  If your child’s feet hurt or if shoes don’t fit correctly, he or she might simply avoid moving around. It’s always easy for kids to find reasons for sitting in front of a screen; you don’t want to add foot pain as another of those reasons. Paying attention to your child’s foot health will help him or her establish lifelong patterns for active living.

Take a look at your child’s feet

The first step is to actually look at your younger children’s feet. Problem areas that the child has been ignoring may come to light, such as plantar warts, infections and sore spots from poorly fitting shoes. Any injuries or problem areas that you notice should be brought to the attention of your Long Island podiatrist at Great Neck Family Foot Care.

Elementary school children may welcome your attention, and join you in investigating the condition of their feet. Older children and teens can be instructed to do their own self-examination, as one step toward teaching them the basics of lifelong foot care.

Consider protective foot orthotics

Organized sports, especially those involving physical contact or requiring cleats, may put a lot of strain on feet and ankles. If you’ve got special athletic shoes on your back-to-school shopping list, you may want to also schedule a visit for your young athlete with Dr. Hochstein and the team here at Great Neck Family Foot Care. Ankle taping and custom orthotic shoe inserts can head off potential pain and injury, and your Long Island podiatrist can discern exactly which type of support is needed.

Get the right kind of school shoes

Most children love the ritual of buying new shoes for school. When you take them shopping, make sure to follow these simple pointers to ensure that the shoes you buy will contribute to the health of their growing feet:

Buy new shoes: Children outgrow shoes quickly, so you may be tempted to save money by accepting a hand-me-down pair or shopping at the second-hand store. Don’t do it! Not only do shoes fit different foot shapes differently, but this is a super-effective way to spread athlete’s foot and nail fungus.

Shop in the afternoon or evening: Feet swell just a bit in the course of the day, so it’s a good idea to shop later on when the shoes can be fitted to the larger size.

Buy for the larger foot: If you have paid close attention to your child’s foot sizes, you may have noticed one foot being slightly larger than the other. If this is true for your child, always fit new shoes to the larger foot.

Don’t buy shoes that need to be “broken in.” If they don’t feel comfortable in the store, don’t take them home.

Don’t buy shoes that are too “bendy.” They might slip on easily in the store, but they won’t provide enough structural support when your child is engaged in heavy activity. The heel cup should feel firm, and the entire shoe shouldn’t be easy to twist in your hand. Some flexibility in the toe area is necessary and important, though.

Don’t leave “room to grow.” In order to support healthy foot growth, shoes need to be fitted correctly for the child’s current foot dimensions. Properly fitted shoes do have a little breathing room, and they may well accommodate a small amount of growth by stretching with wear.

Always try on shoes with the intended socks: If your child will wear thick socks or tights with these shoes, he or she should wear those same socks to the store.

Be vigilant as the school year gets underway

Entering a new grade or an unfamiliar school always involves excitement, stress, and some totally new activities. Your child may be so distracted by all the friends and challenges that foot problems simply go unnoticed. Keep an eye on how your child is walking, and check in periodically to make sure he or she hasn’t noticed any pain. Heel pain in particular can be a sign of trouble, and our foot doctors at this New York clinic can determine its cause and proper treatment.

Long Island Podiatrist, Dr. Alec Hochstein and all of us here at Great Neck Family Foot Care hope that this new school year will be the very best ever for your children — filled with fun, discovery and success! To get the kids started this year get a free pair of socks from Thorlos, and start their year off on the right foot!

Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (516) 482-5999 if you have any questions. As always, we’ll be delighted to hear from you.