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Most children learn to walk at about the time of their first birthday, although some learn months earlier or later. As your child begins to walk, you may have your first questions about what shoes he or she should wear. A growing child will need new shoes frequently, and more questions will arise.
You should ask yourself the following questions when selecting your child's shoes:
1. The Fit
Pay attention to the shoe's proper length, width and depth when fitting your child's shoe. Poorly fitting children's shoes can cause toe problems, ingrown toenails, hammer toes, calluses and bunions.
Children's feet grow in spurts, and they require new shoes every three to four months. Most early toddlers (under 16 months of age) grow more than one-half a foot size in two months. Toddlers from age 16 to 24 months grow an average of one-half a foot size every three months. The young child, 24 to 36 months old, grows approximately one-half a foot size every four months, and children over 3 years of age experience increases of one-half a foot size every four to six months.
Seventy percent of children wear shoes with D and E widths. Most boys wear E width and most girls wear D width. A tie-fastened shoe can accommodate most widths. You should examine the depth of the shoe to make sure the top of the shoe doesn't press on the toes or the toenails. Look for shoes with rounded toe boxes to give the toes more room for movement.
Remember, shoes should be comfortable from the start. If new shoes need to be "broken in," it means either they were not properly designed or not properly fitted for your child's foot.
2. Shoe Construction
Shoes consist of four parts: the upper, the insole, the outer sole and the heel.
The Appropriate Shoe:
Children's Foot Problems
During the first several years, your child's foot continues to take shape. At this time, problems such as flat foot or high arch may become noticeable, but usually no specific treatment is necessary. If severe, these problems may be symptoms of other, more serious conditions and your child may need a physician's examination and diagnosis. Click here for further information.
Source: The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS)
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