Foot Care for Your Student All School Year
Whether your child is a Holland Dutch, a St. Joseph Bear, or holds allegiance beneath another area banner, school is already underway. We hope it wasn’t too difficult to see them off on the first day.
It is likely you sent your student off to the bus or car in a new pair of back-to-school shoes. It’s important to make sure they have comfortable, well-fitting footwear to spend the day in—but that isn’t the only foot care consideration you will need to make this school year!
Whether it’s sports, special events, or just the passage of time, you will want to make sure young feet and ankles are well guarded against injury or other uncomfortable conditions. Let’s run through a few parts of the school year to see what simple steps can be taken.
School Sports – Gear Up Properly
While football tends to receive higher billing in the fall, soccer, cross country, baseball, and basketball all reach their peaks throughout the school year.
Each sport places different forms of stress on the feet and ankles, from quick stops and turns on the court to long periods of repetitive impact on the track. That’s why shoes are specifically designed to provide the right amounts of flexibility and support for each sport. Sometimes, there may even be variations in design based on the position one plays!
Make sure your child has the right footwear for each sport they participate in. Coaches tend to be good at enforcing the right shoes for the job, but it is also important to make sure sports shoes aren’t being used for unintended purposes outside of school.
In some cases, a child might have an abnormal arch structure that requires added support. If they complain of foot pain, or that their legs easily fatigue, come see us. Custom-made orthotic inserts or other conservative treatments can help them maintain comfort and confidence.
Gym Class – Fighting Foot Odor
Even if your child isn’t on a team, they will still likely be participating in physical education each week. They can still make a big impact during these classes, especially if their sneakers start to smell bad.
Smelly shoes are not your child’s fault. During childhood and adolescence, feet tend to sweat much more than in other ages of life. This sweat can create a prime breeding ground for bacteria, which then produces waste products that cause a volatile stink.
While excessive sweating tends to become less of a problem with age, you will still want to do something about foot and shoe odor now. Gym shoes made of natural materials such as canvas or modern mesh help air out excess moisture, while more synthetic and plastic shoe materials will keep it trapped.
Regular cleaning also significantly helps. If your child is younger, wash their feet in a tub instead of showering, using an antibacterial soap. Be sure to dry carefully, including between the toes, to keep excess moisture at bay. Socks and shoe inserts should also be washed with warm water and dried completely on a regular basis.
If odor problems persist, talk with us regarding additional treatments, including foot powders and disinfectant sprays. There are even treatments for excessive sweating.
Winter – Boots Season!
You know that boots will be important in our area when the snow starts falling. A good pair will be:
- “Water resistant” is not enough, especially if your child might end up pushing through several inches of piled up snow. Tight seams through the entirety of the boot and an inner liner are both must-haves.
- Even if the average trip outside is short, it always pays to have protective warmth for the feet and toes. You never know when the day will get very cold or your child might need to spend extended time in the snow.
- The problems with moisture that we described in gym shoes can apply to boots as well. However, in addition to potential odor problems, damp feet are also more difficult to keep warm! A good boot will help allow inside moisture out while keeping outside moisture from getting in.
While kids don’t tend to put much care into whether they wear their snow boots all day, insist upon them switching into their standard shoes during the actual school day. This can help keep moisture from building up in both types of footwear, and it will simply be more comfortable for them, too.
Spring – New Shoes Needed?
Based on which stage of life your child is in, it is entirely possible that they have outgrown a pair of shoes within half a year!
Measure your child’s feet to see if they have gone up a size, and buy new shoes accordingly. Elementary to middle school is the period you are most likely to see the need for a size update so soon.
Remember that the shoe size number in itself is not gospel in the world of shoes. A certain size in one brand may not fit like the same size in another. Always try shoes on at the store and test the fit around the toes and heel before buying. There should be about a finger’s width between the longest toe and front of the shoe, and the heel should not slip while walking.
This may also be the time when older students are considering shoes for prom and other dances. There is plenty of temptation to go for style at any cost, but any prom shoe candidate should absolutely be tested first. If there is excessive rubbing in the heel or front of the foot, or trouble walking in them, an alternative choice is always preferred.
Top Class Foot Care
Regardless of your students’ areas of excellence, proper foot and ankle care will help them stay active and comfortable enough to perform their best.
Whenever you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s feet, the time to address them is always sooner than later! Discovering and treating problems during development can help ensure much healthier and more stable feet into adulthood.
We have two offices that will always be happy to see you! Call (616) 393-8886 for our Holland location or (269) 429-7670 for our St. Joseph location.