When Barefoot May Be Best for Your Child

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BarefootThroughout history, parents have shooed their children outdoors without anything on their feet as long as the weather was warm enough to support that. Children ran around without shoes, toughening up their soles. In today’s world with sharp glass, hard asphalt, rusting scrap metal, and other sharp objects lying around, it’s not always safe for children to run without foot protection. And yet, some experts are saying that barefoot might actually be good for your child.

More and more studies show that growing feet that are free to move and develop their muscles without interference grow into stronger and more stable adult feet. They also tend to be more flexible and have a greater range of motion. Stiff shoes that control the lower limbs’ movement prevent the feet from moving freely. This can actually limit their flexibility and power.

So what does this mean for your child? It is actually important to let your little one run around without shoes to help him or her develop important muscles in the feet and lower legs. This is especially crucial for new walkers, whose feet are growing rapidly and aren’t very strong yet. Sticking your toddler in stiff shoes will change how the feet strike the ground and function, which limits their development.

When you let your child run around barefoot does matter, of course. There still is a risk for injury when your child doesn’t have anything to protect him or her from stepping on something sharp. However, letting your early walker or small child walk around with bare feet in your home can be very beneficial for their growing lower limbs.

When your child does wear shoes, make sure they are not too stiff or so padded that your child’s feet can’t function naturally. Choose styles that are age-appropriate and comfortable. Always make sure they are the correct size. If you’re not sure what shoes are best for your young child, or you’re at all concerned about your son or daughter’s foot development, let Podiatry Associates, P.C. help you. Use our online resources to connect with us, or call our offices in Castle Pines, Parker, or Cherry Creek at (303) 805-5156.
Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC
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