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Foot Injuries From Running – Prevention Is Key

Foot Injury Pictures

Kids and parents have enough going on with school, play, and family time. Sometimes it might be hard to make time to purchase the correct pair of shoes, but protecting your children through footwear is one of the most basic ways to ensure they avoid foot or leg injuries. I have been through several foot injuries  myself that involved toe, foot, and ankle injuries.

 I have been working at a children shoe store for five years, and we specialize in children who have foot pain. Foot injuries from running are the most popular ones among children.

Most adults have experienced a minor toe, foot, or ankle injury that caused pain or swelling. In children, most toe, foot, or ankle injuries occur during sports, play, or falls. The risk for injury is higher in sports with jumping, such as basketball, or sports with quick direction change, such as soccer or football. If your child is involved in any of these sports,make sure you have his shoes properly fitted.

Should We Blame The Shoes Or The Parents For Our Kids’ Foot Injuries?

Parents are always concerned about how much space there is in their kids’ shoes between the end of the big toe, and the end of the shoe. They always want to have a good amount of growing room (I get it, I wouldn’t want to replace my kids’ shoes too often either), but there is a certain amount of growing that you can leave in the shoes without going too long and compromising your child’s stability.

You should also manage your expectations better when it comes to facing how long your kids’ shoes will last. STOP thinking about about how long your kids’ shoes will last, make sure you get the right size and REPLACE the shoes as soon as they start feeling too small in your kids’ feet.

The fact is that . I’ll use an automobile tire as an example. If the wheels are out of alignment or improperly balanced, the tire will wear excessively on one side and very little on the other. The result is a tire life shorter than it would be with proper wheel alignment and balance.  Tire tread and shoe tread operate on the same principle. Shoes fitted too long and narrow, or too short and wide, create a tread imbalance and a faulty wear pattern for the shoe itself.

If shoes are fitted too long, then this will have a direct impact in the child not feeling stable when walking or running, especially if he/she is involved in a sport where you have to run fast and engage in quick direction change. The other downside of buying shoes for your child that are too long is is that the shoe will have too much extra space around the ankles, which means the foot will move too much inside the shoe leading to ankle injuries.

If the shoes are fitted too short this might have a negative impact on your child’s foot as well. Think about tennis for example, a tennis player must make sudden stops all the time.  If the shoe is fitted too short it might not only make the child more prone to falling but also the toes will get all cramped causing all sorts of problems such as bunions, calluses, corns, and ingrown toenails.

Do you want to know how to make sure your child is wearing the correct pair of shoes? I wrote a post where I describe the most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:

How To Measure Kids Shoe Size From Home – In Less Than 30 Seconds!

Child Foot Injury

When it comes to protecting your young child from foot injuries, prevention is key. Please keep in mind that proper fitting shoes are the only protective gear that children have to safeguard them from injury, and we must make sure that the shoes that they are wearing are fitting them properly.

Here you can find a selection of the best fitting shoes for children when it comes to support, flexibility, and breath-ability. These shoes styles are also available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide.

These shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale (Brannock device) in order to allow for growing room.

Is Your Child Experiencing Leg Pain? – Learn How To Stop It!

Often generally explained as muscle ache, some of this pain might be due to “growing pains.” However, there is no actual evidence that these are linked to growth spurts. For the most part, children’s leg pain might occur after intense childhood activities, such as overexertion or clumsiness, or after they engage in physical activity. 

Child Leg Pain

Your child is most likely engaging in sports, certainly at school and frequently in extracurricular activities and free time after school or on the weekend. If we are to rank sports as the highest and most common form of physical activity, parents must be aware that their children feet are subjected to enormous traumatic stress. This is because these activities call for different forms of physical action that impose torsions, shock impact, sudden-stop action, etc. on the foot.

The Importance Of Wearing The Right Type OF Cleats

Besides causing pain and discomfort that can affect athletic performance, the wrong size shoe can result in foot problems and cause further injuries down the road. When your child is playing soccer or engaging in a competitive sport that requires running at a faster level, the chances for injuries on the field increase.

Keep in mind that for example most soccer cleats are made to fit the shape of the athlete’s foot. This is important in assisting the players to direct the ball as they pass or shoot. Here comes the dilemma since a lot of children have wide feet and soccer shoes tend to fit in the medium to the narrow side.

Does your child has a wide foot and you are having the hardest time finding cleats that come in wide or extra wide widths? There is a style of soccer cleats that come in wide and extra wide widths. Shoe weight should be an important consideration in running and other athletic footwear. I wrote a post where I describe the best soccer cleats for children, including the style that comes in extra wide called:

 The Best Soccer Cleats For Kids – The Secret For Your Child To Play Better

Children's Cleats

Is Your Child Experiencing Leg Pain After Soccer Games/Practice?

I am going to start this section by explaining this can be simply due to your child not stretching enough before and after the game or practice. If your child does stretch regularly and the pain persists then it might be a sign that your child needs extra support in his/her cleats (considering they are wearing the proper cleat size).

When playing soccer, baseball, softball, or basketball, your child is stressing his legs more since he is running faster and engaging in more strenuous activities. I have had several cases of children having knee pain and leg pain after playing soccer. However, these issues tend to diminish or disappear fully when using Superfeet insoles. The Superfeet insole is effective in keeping the children’s feet free from such pains after strenuous activities.  This kind of insole has done wonders for children that were ready to quit playing  soccer due to the pain in their feet and knees.

These insoles fit inside your child’s cleats and provides them with extra arch and ankle support. Be aware that these insoles will only work for shoes that have a removable insole (this should not be a major problem since 85% of the shoes now come with removable insoles).

I happen to mention soccer but the same applies to basketball, which involves a jump action on a non-resilient floor, as well as many other sports. Surely a great deal is required of both the feet and shoes to cope with such stresses and traumas.

Below you can find a selection of the best Superfeet insoles that will work for your children cleats, or his everyday sneakers. The blue color Superfeet is for sports related shoes such as cleats, and the green colored one  is for everyday wear. You can also see the best heel cups for a child that is experiencing ankle pain.

How Long Should My Child Wear His Shoes Before Replacing Them?

Active children impose enormous abuse on shoes. The average child will take approximately 20,000 steps a day. Keep in mind that these are also not ordinary walking steps as taken by an adult, these are stomping, running, jumping, skidding, twisting, scuffing, kicking, etc.

Also these shoes are exposed to gravel, rocks, pavement, chemicals, grave and soil. I wrote a post where I explain exactly how long should shoes last for children, depending on their ages. The post is called:

How Fast Do Kids Feet Grow – Learn About When You Should Replace Your Kids” Shoes.

I do believe children’s shoes should be outgrown before they are worn off in most cases. If your child plays several sports then do not be surprised if you have to replace his shoes more often.

Child Cleats

It does not matter what kind of sport your children play, if they are playing at an intense level where they require a particular shoe, there will be a specific shoe for that sport. Sport-specific shoes are engineered to provide the support, motion control, and cushioning that minimizes foot injuries associated with a particular activity.

Do you have a child who is involved in a particular sport but he is experiencing foot or leg pain? Have you found a solution to your kids’ feet problems? Please share your thoughts and experiences so we can all benefit from them!


I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

16 Comments on Foot Injuries From Running – Prevention Is Key

  1. This is the kind of information that every parent should have access to. I know I didn’t realise that sports shoes were so specialized. And you’re right about what children do to their shoes! 🙂

    • Margaret,
      I am glad you found the information useful. As the child gets older and sports start being more competitive, I definitely recommend specialized shoes for each sport if you want them performing at their best.

  2. Dear Juan,

    This is very helpful info indeed. I have to share this Website to a church friend of mine who is expecting a son soon. And, she needs all the help she can get since he will be her first child. 🙂

    You are very right in terms of how many different pairs of shoes a child may go through during their childhood, it is an ongoing process of keeping them comfortable in the shoes they wear on their feet always.

    Wow, 20,000 Steps a day, I do love walking a ton, but never realized that even I can take that many steps per day.

    Thanks for raising awareness on how to deal with foot pain and injuries. 🙂

    Wishing you all the best with your online success above and beyond the horizon,


    • Angel,

      I work in a children’s shoe store and I am on my feet all day. I can not tell you how hard it is to reach the 20,000 steps mark. Obviously children are stressing their feet and legs all day and we must provide them with the right pair of shoes so they can stay healthy and compete at their best!

  3. Hi Juan: You are providing very valuable information on your site for parents with young children. It is important that parents understand the benefits of fitting their children with specialized shoes as they grow. I trust your site will be beneficial to your visitors as it is with me. Cheers.

  4. This is a very informative article. Thanks for helping us see the value of fitting our children’s shoes. It seems like there would also be a need for kids having several different pairs of shoes if they are involved in multiple sports. The importance of taking care of our feet is something that most of us overlook on a daily basis. This neglect will come back and haunt us when we are old. It would be really helpful to our kids if we instill in them the habit of taking care of their feet at an early age. Thanks for the information.

    • Nancy,

      I am glad you found the post informative. Depending on the age of the child, the level of competitiveness, and what the coach might want, there might be a need for different pair of shoes if they are involved in multiple sports. I agree with you that we need to take care of our feet on a daily basis! Thank you for stopping by.

  5. Hi Juan,
    Your article on foot injury is most related to health. At some point of time we all got suffered from foot injury due to wrong shoe size and bad shoe material. Feet are the pillars of body, they must be healthy. Your broadly brought out all the possible injury linked to feet due to bad shoe selection.
    As elders can select their shoe by their own but for kids parents must know the importance of shoe size, and must select the fitting one only.


    • Sam,

      I am glad you found the post informative. You are correct when you state that: “At some point of time we all got suffered from foot injury due to wrong shoe size and bad shoe material”, this can be avoided or minimized by wearing the right type of shoes.

  6. Your post on foot injuries from running was very informative. It was good to be reminded of the importance of properly fitted shoes. I must admit, I have been guilty of buying shoes on the bigger side, so they last longer. I won’t be doing that again! I was amazed to hear how many steps an average child takes in a day. I feel even more strongly now about getting properly fitted shoes, and the right shoes for particular activities. Thanks for the incredibly useful information.

    • Gemma,

      I am glad you found the post informative and that it made you realize how important it is to provide your children with the right pair of shoes.

  7. Greetings Juan, as an independent soccer boot blogger myself, I notice that soccer boots have becoming more influential due to the designs rather than comfort.

    I just want to share my opinion that they are willing to buy and get a shoe which might not be the right fitting due to the narrow-form nature of the shoe.

    What I am trying to say is because the design is so appealing, they would sacrifice comfort and this backfires actually.

    So much for the short-termism. Anyways, overall, comfort is still arguably an underrated factor which should be prioritized by all of us.

    Thanks for sharing, Juan.


    • Tar,
      I agree with you that some individuals prioritize looks over fit when it comes to shoes. I want to believe that this is not true, but in most instances it is. I am sure you have played soccer yourself and you understand the kind of pain you might suffer if you do not wear the appropriate pair if cleats. I am glad you found the post informative.

  8. Every time I injured my foot it was just because I bumped into some type of furniture and stubbed my toe. I could probably say that I have big feet but the real issue I have is that I’m always walking around at my job up and down hills. Which if you think about it should be good for a little cardio right. I guess so but I may need to look for some new shoes because my foot aches sometimes when I walk too much.

    • Chris,

      I can see where you are coming from.Working at a shoe store I am in my feet all day. Sitting down, getting up, climbing ladders to reach the shoes, running back and forth during the busiest days. It only took me 6 months from when I started working to start experiencing not only foot pain but knee and leg pain as well.

      I decided to invest in a good pair of Asics and Super Feet insoles and the pain went away. In most cases, the pain might have gone away with a good supportive pair of shoes, but in my case I needed something extra.

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