With the sprouting of Spring, lots of wee ones (and eldsters) will be making like “little Tiggers in the Hundred-Acre Wood”. Make sure you put your best foot forward with tips from The Foot Whisperer.
Soft/Round Sole Shoes = Healthy Development Randy Eady, The Foot Whisperer, cuts to the chase and says, “Bottom-line (pun intended), shoes should be designed specifically for natural movement — with flexible, ample-wide, soft soles and breathable, natural materials. Balance, strength and flexibility are maximized when feet are allowed to develop naturally. When you or your child can’t go barefoot, a soft sole that mimics barefoot conditions is ideal. Soft soled shoes are critical for healthy feet. Shoes that meet all these qualities are adored by adults and children alike for they align with the basics of barefoot-like, comfortable feel.
“Toddlers and children are easily mal-adapted to the wrong shoe choices provided them. This can influence bone development and balance. Caring for a child’s feet will benefit their health, mobility and well-being throughout their entire life.”
Why is that? The Foot Whisperer notes, “The 26 bones in our feet are not fully hardened until age 18.”
Children’s feet are composed of relatively soft and flexible cartilage which gradually converts to bone with age.
While children’s feet are developing, the soft cartilage centers are fusing together. As such, the foot is at risk from injury and deformity due to ill-fitting footwear.
Any postural foot abnormality can have an effect further up the body, permanently altering posture and walking style.
Healthy Footwear Tips
• Allow plenty of room for toes to wiggle and reflexively respond/spread. This means not only your shoes, but care should also be taken to make sure that socks are loose and sleep suits do not cram the toes (that goes for adults who sleep with “footies”, too!).
• When buying for children, find shoes from reputable companies designed specifically for toddlers and young children. A young child’s foot is a different shape from that of an adult or teenager, requiring a correspondingly much bigger toe area than the shape of an adult shoe. Many shoe manufacturers of children’s shoes are simply scaled down versions of adult shoes.
• Soling material for outdoor shoes on hard surfaces such as sidewalks should be slip resistant, shock absorbing and flexible. The best soles are protective while simulating barefoot conditions, meaning no heels, and negligible arch support or other “molding” features.
• Upper materials should be made of breathable material such as leather or cloth. Children’s feet sweat more than adults, up to one cup of moisture per day. Avoid synthetic nylons or plastic materials. Sheepskin lining is an ideal material as it wicks moisture away from the foot.
Randy Eady, The Foot Whisperer, is a native of Southern Ontario and Western New York. He is board-certified in rehabilitation therapy with 18+ years experience in patient advocacy and clinical contact (as it relates to movement disorders and post traumatic stress). Eady is a Tai Chi 4Health Member Instructor, with classes designed to encourage a fluid, holistic body-mind-spirit intelligence through a highly effective step-training and acupressure integration practice called Ancient Walking to Primal Rhythms™.
Foot whispering is an intuitive medicinal therapy. The feet, lugging 98 percent of our weight, clearly say what’s going on across multiple dimensions of health, well-being and symmetry in the body. Learn more about this practice and how to become a Foot Whisperer at the upcoming Orientation class, April 13, at the Hollywood Healing Center. See ad page 43.