Should babies really be wearing shoes? It?s a question that comes up often when you?re a parent.?Those teeny little sandals and trainers can be oh so irresistible, but are they necessary? And might they end up doing your baby more harm than good?
Sydney podiatrist Rudo Makuyana from The Foot Hub share her medical opinion on whether babies should be wearing shoes.
So Rudo, should babies really be wearing shoes?
If we?re talking about babies in the pre-crawling and pre-walking stage, I would say probably no.
Feet are still developing and growing, and I see no need to put on shoes at such a young age as they are not on their feet.
This is the stage where ?shoes? should be comfortable lose and should stretch. Lightweight shoes are also a good requirement. Soft sole shoes are fine when children at not yet walking.
Yes they are cute just need to remember if kids are not walking or standing in them, buying an expensive cute shoe is not necessary.
What are the important milestones for young children when it comes to foot health?
The key milestones for babies are when they start standing and walking, and then later on around age 2 and age 7.
It?s important to remember that kids will change hip, knee and foot posture from 18 months until age 7. The last bone to ossify (harden) in the foot happens at age 7.
So try not to worry too much if you see something unusual. If you do have concerns though, an appointment with a podiatrist can help to put your mind at ease.
What types of shoes are suitable for children once they start standing and walking?
When it comes to footwear, we need to remember that everyone is different and there is no simple rule for everyone.
We all have different foot types, and this shows at a young. Muscles develop differently in others; some children are more flexible than others whilst some are stronger.
So any good advice should always be child specific. What might work for one child not might work for yours.
Is there anything to worry about from a foot health perspective if children don?t wear shoes?
If your child likes to go barefoot that is fine, but just remember shoes are mostly for protection so make sure this is happening in safe environment.
I have seen many adults with sharp objects in their feet from barefoot walking outside.
Another one is burns! So I cannot over emphasize safety first when it comes to shoes vs going barefoot.
When should parents be concerned about their child?s foot health?
I think everything boils down to pain. Pain is sign that something is wrong and should never be ignored. Another thing to look out for is instability leading to tripping or falling.
If your child can run around the whole day with no pain, then a lightweight soft shoe is fine.
However, if your child reports pain, then go for a firmer shoe.
If they are already wearing a firmer shoe and still report pain then I?d recommend making an appointment to see a podiatrist who can assess your child and diagnose the cause of the pain, plus develop an appropriate treatment plan if needed.
Rudo Makuyana is one of the podiatrists at The Foot Hub, a podiatry clinic in Sydney. Rudo is passionate about foot health and treating patients holistically ? not just the individual problem.?Originally from Zimbabwe, she completed her Bachelor of Podiatric Medicine at the University of Western Australia (School of Surgery) in 2011.?She now practices in her foot clinics in Alexandria and Sydenham, doing general podiatry, custom orthotics, ski boot fitting and children?s podiatryand also volunteers and advocates for the rights of the world?s poor.