Plenty of children wear ill-fitting shoes. Whether they’re too big or too small, it can be tough to keep up with kiddos’ fast-growing bodies. But, believe it or not, while the exact cause for bunions is unclear, wearing poorly-fitted shoes during the early stages of development is recognized as a significant contribution to a painful hallux angle.
Do Tight Shoes Lead to Bunions?
In a recent study conducted in Japan, researchers set out to better understand how the development of bunions in childhood is affected by their commonly worn shoes. The study recorded the hallux angles (the deviation between the big toe and the joint) of 1238 preschooler feet. More than 75 percent of children had been consistently wearing shoes that were too short in length, leaving their toes with little room to sit comfortably.
After comparing the feet that wore shoes for the entire school year with those that went barefoot, researchers found significant evidence that shoes—particularly too-short in length—lead to a wider hallux angle than going barefoot, and can ultimately contribute to developing bunions.
How to Find Proper Sizing for Your Kids’ Feet
Their shoes fit just fine as long as their toes barely touch the tip of the shoe, right? Surprisingly enough, even if your child’s shoes slip on just fine and they say they’re comfortable, they could be too small. And, too-small shoes can be cause for concern.
Save yourself some time and energy by measuring your kids’ feet versus the inside of their shoes. A properly fitting shoe should be at least 10 millimeters bigger than the length of the foot; it’s only better if they’re 12 millimeters longer. Avoid longer shoes, and absolutely bypass shorter ones. Even if they’re only longer by 9 millimeters, it’s best to always opt for at least 10.
It goes to show that children have a predisposition to bunions if their shoes are too short. And, to help avoid future pain and expensive treatments, it could certainly benefit both you and them to keep an eye on your little ones’ soles. Although your kids’ feet might grow faster than you’d like them to, it’s essential to update their closets to allow proper fitting shoes throughout all of the growth spurts.