Let's Ask The Expert- Dr. Sameera Gupta.
Kids’ health, fitness, and activity have become key issues in the current environment and parents frequently ask us questions about kids’ shoes and their feet in this context. To find answers for parents we contacted Dr. Sameera Gupta for her expert opinions. Dr. Sameera has been working as an occupational therapist and physiotherapist for 23 years. She channels her expert knowledge in the field of physio-occupational therapy through her clinic, PhysioSlim Clinic in Mumbai, treating various issues like back pain, arthritis, spondylosis, shoulder pain, post-operative exercises, nerve and tendon injuries.
A quick read through this conversation with Dr. Sameera will answer two main questions:
- How important a role does shoes play in the growth and development of your child?
- What are the points parents should keep in mind before buying Shoes For Kids?
Skoodo: Doctor Sameera you have been working with children and adults for some time now, how are kids' feet different from those of adults?
Dr. Sameera: Kids' feet aren’t fully developed; they are in their growing phase which means the shape is changing with every growth spurt…. that visits them until they don’t.
Their feet are way more sensitive than an adult, that is to say, feet have more than 8000 nerve endings supplying information to the brain to process and learn from about foot movement and body posture. Kids' feet are V-shaped, unlike an adult foot which is not so broad in the forefoot region.
Skoodo: What are the problems that parents come to you with, regarding their kids' foot health?
Dr. Sameera: Between the age of 7 to 14 years, the growing phase for children, and that’s when parents have to be mindful of a lot of factors. Patients usually come to us for tip-toeing, kids walking on their toes…., they complain about the narrowing (of feet) from the front, there’s overlapping of the toes. It is commonly observed when kids remove their shoes the toes are overlapping, there’s pronation of feet either medially or laterally which causes deviation and discomfort, and the gait changes eventually.
Skoodo: What role do you think shoes play in children’s activities?
- Incorrect footwear can lead to complications like pain in the heel and ankle of the foot
- Ingrown toenails can get infected and are extremely painful.
- Bunions and corn on soles.
- Flat foot when no attention is given to the competency of the sole of the shoe during the formative years of a child.
- Shoes that have thick soles at the heel region can cause shortening of the Achilles tendon which may cause tearing and inflammation.
A good shoe is a prophylactic care for feet to prevent any deformities and malalignment of the feet.
Skoodo: What mistakes do parents generally make when picking up kids' shoes and what kind of shoes should be entirely avoided?
Dr. Sameera: Parents are usually concerned about the cosmetic value of the shoe. Things they mostly give some thought to are what style of shoe they need for the kid depending on the occasion and what brand they want to buy from. And the choice of brand is most often based not on their own experience of that particular brand’s footwear.
Another common mistake (parents make) is buying footwear that is bigger (for the kid’s foot),….. which does make sense considering how fast the foot’s size keeps changing. It still is a mistake because a loose shoe is problematic to developing gait and skillful movements.
Kids' shoes shouldn’t have a hard insole. Any shoe that is soft and gentle on the plantar surface of the kids' feet is desirable.
The shoe should be broader in the front region (so that) the space for toes isn’t compromised.
Skoodo: What are the main points parents should check for when going out to Buy Shoes For Their Kids?
- Ensure to buy the right size, with enough wiggle room for the toes.
- The footwear should be flexible enough to accommodate all kinds of movement of the foot.
- The sole should be soft on the inside and not so thick.
Skoodo: What do you think of the flexibility of Skoodo shoes?
Dr. Sameera: I believe the material that Skoodo shoes are made of is very good. The rubber sole provides the right balance of flexibility and strength to the shoe. I think (that) flexibility is something children would appreciate in their shoes.
Skoodo: What do you think about the wide fit of Skoodo shoes and its relevance?
Dr. Sameera: The wide fit of Skoodo shoes is as per the natural shape of a kid's foot that is triangular or 'V' as I said earlier. It gives the toes the well-deserved space to spread during playtime. The blood flow (to the feet) is not interrupted as it is in the shoes that are not wide-fitting… most of the kids' shoes that I’ve seen in my practice are miniaturized versions of adult footwear designs which are (relatively) less wide in front than at the back… (and hence) unsuitable for kids' feet.
Skoodo: So, coming to our last question Dr. Sameera, how much daily activity and what kind of daily activity do you recommend for kids aged between 6-14years?
Dr. Sameera: 6-14 years is an age when children can learn to structure their routine to include some physical activity along with other important things that keep on getting added to their routine as they grow older.
I recommend a minimum of 30-45 mins outdoor playtime for kids even on their most busy days. It’s good for kids to have an hour or more to be themselves and play around and let the endorphins do their magic. The cortisol levels have been shown to go down in kids who regularly do some form of physical activity. These kids have better concentration levels and elevated confidence and focus too.
Any sort of activity that comes under cardiovascular exercises whether it’s cycling, skipping, jogging, swimming, etc, that they love doing should be an integral part of their day.
Skoodo works closely with podiatrists, physio-occupational therapists, sports therapists, and paed-orthopedics to help improve our understanding of children’s foot health and development. Our shoes have been designed keeping every important detail about kids’ feet in mind. You’d know after trying out from our collection of Shoes For Kids Online.