“Less active children are more likely to be at increased risk of obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, and various cancers in adulthood,” says California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) President Diane Koshimune Guadron, DPM.
"Walking to school is a
great way to add healthy steps to the day, encourage healthy habits at a young
age, and contribute to healthy weight, improved cardiovascular health, bone and
muscle strength, sleep, mood, and academic performance. Regular physical
activity can also help to reduce the risk of such chronic diseases as diabetes,
heart disease, and cancer in the future,” said Dr. Koshimune Guadron, a podiatric
foot and ankle specialist and surgeon affiliated with the
Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Jose, CA.
“Walking can be an invigorating way to start the school day, and proper footwear, fit, and comfort are vital
for making walking a pleasurable experience and lifelong habit. Care should be
taken with purchasing shoes, especially for children whose feet are still
developing,” says Dr. Koshimune Guadron, who offered the following tips for
buying footwear for children:
· Visit a podiatric foot and ankle
specialist (aka Doctor of Podiatric Medicine [DPM])to examine children's feet
to ensure they are developing normally and for an evaluation of the child's
gait so that corrective measures can be implemented early. DPMs can also make
shoe recommendations for the shape of the child's foot and gait.
· Buy shoes in the afternoon. Feet tend
to expand throughout the day.
· If the child wears prescription
orthotics - biomechanical inserts prescribed by a podiatric physician – they
should be taken along for footwear fittings.
· Ask if the store has a trained
· The child’s foot should be sized while
he or she is standing up and fully weight-bearing.
· Always have both feet measured for
length; if they are two different sizes, shoes should be chosen that fit the
larger foot best.
· Examine the shoe itself. It should
have a firm heel counter (stiff material on either side of the heel), adequate
cushioning of the insole, and a built-in arch. It should be flexible enough to
bend where the foot bends - at the ball of the foot, not in the middle of the
· A newly fitted shoe should be
approximately ½ inch longer than the longest toe. The child should be able to
comfortably wiggle his or her toes in the shoe.
· Have the child walk around the store in
the shoes and wear the socks that they will be wearing with the shoes. Ask the
child if he or she feels any pressure spots in the shoe. Feel the inside of the
shoe for any staples or irregularities that could cause irritation. Examine
where the inside stitching hits the foot. Look for signs of irritation on the
foot after the shoe is worn.
This is especially true for those with diabetes.
· Avoid slip-on shoes. Shoes should be
held on the foot with laces, straps, or Velcro fastenings.
· Heel height should be no more than 1.5
inches, lower for younger children.
· The heel should have a broad base and
be made from a shock-absorbing material.
· Natural material uppers are best,
· The toe area of the shoe should be
foot-shaped and deep enough to allow the toes to move freely and not be
· Shoes should be comfortable at the
time of purchase and not need "breaking in."
To find a local licensed podiatric foot and ankle specialist (Doctor of Podiatric
Medicine) visit www.calpma.org
Founded in 1912, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) is
the leading and recognized professional organization for California’s doctors
of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons (also
known as podiatrists)are qualified by their long and rigorous medical education,
training, and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot,
ankle, and structures of the lower leg.