1 in 5 Asians have flat feet
What's “flat feet” or “pes planus” (to apply the correct medical terminology)?
Typically, in a non “flat-footed” individual, the arch of the foot is usually raised off the ground when the person is standing. If the foot arch is low or nonexistent, the person is said to have “flat feet” or sometimes, “fallen arches”.
What are the consequences of having "flat feet"?
Flat feet may put a strain on your muscles, ligaments and joints, which may cause pain in your feet, legs, hips and back when you stand or walk. Furthermore, individuals with flat feet may develop tired or aching feet after prolonged periods of standing or walking.
Some people will not experience any discomfort and may not even know they have 'flat feet". Nobody know how lucky the child will be when he grows up.
What treatments are available?
Like all health related issues, it’s important to recognise the problem as early as possible since its severity tends to worsen with time. Early treatments tend to be less invasive and are often associated with better outcomes than treatment at more advanced stages.
Improvement may be achieved in a number of ways. First line of treatment is non-surgical. Orthopaedist will advise specific exercises, orthopaedic approved shoes and if such shoes are not available insoles and orthotics. The last resort is surgery.
The key point is - prevention is better than treatment. Choose orthopaedic friendly good quality shoes to lower the risk of any feet problems.
Can I protect my child from having "flat feet"?
Typically, the arches of children may not fully develop until the age of 10, therefore it can be difficult to assess whether they have a flat foot until this age. It is these crucial years when the right shoes can play a big difference.
How to choose kids shoes:
First baby shoes should not be too soft opposite to common believe. Your little explorer is making his first steps, he needs a steady ground and good support. Choose shoes that hold baby's foot snugly, have steady base to give him the right stability yet still comfortable.
Orthopedists recommend to buy first shoes not when your child made an attempt for his first steps but way before that - when your child learned to stand with support but on his own, for example he can pull himself up and stand in his crib all by himself. At this stage you should let him wear proper shoes for a short while every day, it will help him to accept the shoes later on when he starts walking and save you some nerves as some children refuse to wear shoes but already eager to walk.
Pick the size right. Do not buy shoes that are too tight. No one likes tight shoes and they may cause a permanent injury, kids toe joints are soft and fragile. Do not buy oversized shoes either. Loose shoes do not provide the required support and stability of the hill and arch, in fact they may cause an injury as well. The right shoes should fit nicely snug and have an extra space of 1-1.5 cm in front of the kid toes. See our Size Guide for more details.
For young children choose the shoes with semi-hard heel. It's important to keep the toddler's heel sturdy, it should not move right or left easily. Semi-hard heel help to keep the foot in the right position and provides necessary support for early walkers.
Flip-flops, rubber, foam water resistant shoes are a big no-no for small children. Leave them for the beach and swimming pool as they are made for. They don't secure the foot properly and are not recommended for every day use.
Give your preference to the shoes made of natural materials like leather, suede. Rubber, silicon, leatherette and other artificial materials do not let the feet breeze, they trap moist, especially in hot humid climate and easily cause bacteria growth, leading to skin and toe nails fungus diseases.
When choosing shoes for your kids you must look for reputable brand. You may save your dollar on cheap made-in-nowhere shoes only to spend a fortune for later treatment.
Happy Step Store hopes this article was a good read.
We wish your children stay healthy and have lots of fun on their way to adulthood!