Lindsey Ebbs Podiatry - Podiatry Insights

School Shoes Should be Symmetrical But When Was The Last Time You Checked?

We all know children grow a lot over the school holidays and more often than not you need to buy new uniforms and new school shoes in August before they start in September.

If their uniform is a little large, that’s ok as they’ll grow into it during the year, however their school shoes must fit properly from the beginning but there’s one more thing that’s just as important as correct fit, you need to pay close attention to the symmetry of the shoes.

In our clinic, a while ago, a young girl attended her appointment and she was complaining of very painful ankles during the day, only when she was at school.

It didn’t bother her when she played sport and it was okay at home, but as soon as she put her school shoes back on her ankle discomfort would return. The left ankle was also more painful than the right.

As part of our biomechanical assessment, her walking pattern, foot range of motion, muscle strength and flexibility were all assessed, we popped her onto the pressure gait plate. and everything seemed normal, with no indication to what the problem might be?

We then took a close look at her current athletic and school footwear.

So next, we looked at the symmetry of her footwear. When we examined her school shoes, we were shocked to find they were distorted and this was not from excessive wear, as they were only 3 weeks old.

The back of her school shoes, the heel counter, had been stitched incorrectly and this was causing them to twist outwards, and it was more noticeable on the left than the right, which matched her ankle discomfort.

As soon as her parents replaced her shoes her ankle problems resolved.

Cheap Footwear

Cheaper footwear can often distort with minimal use, especially if they are used for long periods of time each day at school, however this was not the case here. Instead, this was clearly a manufacturing error.

Distorted footwear can have a dramatic affect on how the foot functions, especially if the foot already rolls inwards, or rolls outwards more then it should, and long-term this can lead to increased foot, ankle, knee and lower back pain.

This is a big concern for children, because their feet are still developing and if their footwear is throwing their foot the wrong way their lower limb development will also be affected and could cause long-term problem.

Here’s Our Take-awayTip

When purchasing school shoes, you should place them on a flat surface and look at them from behind, looking for irregularities in the heel counter. This should be done for all footwear; even expensive shoes can have manufacturing faults.

If they’re not symmetrical, give them back to the shoe salesperson and ask for another pair, until you are happy with them.

There will always be slight differences between left and right shoes, mainly because left and right shoes are made independently of each other and simple errors can occur, however if you notice a considerable discrepancy, you should move on to another pair quickly.

The Foothub Whitby
3, Byland Road
Whitby
YO21 1JH

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