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How to Treat the Sprained Ankle in Kids – Let me Show you the Most Supportive Shoe Styles!


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on April 2022 and reflects up-to-date information on how to treat the sprained ankle in kids.

Do you have a child that is complaining about ankle pain? Did you know that an ankle sprain is a common injury in children?

There are several methods and steps that you can take to minimize or fully eliminate your child’s ankle pain, but the most effective one and the one that helps reduce the chances of your child spraining his/her ankle is by providing your child with the correct pair of shoes. I know this because I have helped several children with sprained ankles.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last 10 years, and I am familiar with the most common children’s foot problems and how to treat them. We are one of the few children’s shoe stores in the country that is certified to fit orthotics, and we carry some of the most supportive shoes to fit these orthotics.


Children are always running around and involved in high impact activities, so you need to provide them with shoes that provide good support, cushioning, traction, and protection from the punishing effects of hard surfaces. If your kids are involved in sports, then they are stressing their feet and legs at a whole different level.

I always recommend parents to be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their children’s foot conditions. Leaving your children’s foot conditions untreated can only lead to the condition getting worse.

If you noticed that your child’s ankles are swollen, then you must take action before the issue escalates. Just so we are on the same page, an ankle sprain can be defined as an injury in which the ligament in the ankle is stretched or torn. Your kids may have twisted their ankle playing sports or landed on their feet in a strange way to cause this injury.

Wearing the correct type of shoes can prevent this condition from happening and they are also the best treatment if the condition is already present. I believe that the type of shoes that you provide for your child plays a key role in preventing ankle sprains. However, if you provide your child with the wrong pair of shoes, then they can be a contributing cause to the problem.

Are High Top Shoes More Supportive than Regular Sneakers?

I want to clarify that high-top shoes won’t provide better support than regular sneakers. The first and most important feature that we must find in your kids’ shoes is a firm heel counter. Do you know what the heel counter of the shoe is? It’s the back part of the shoe that provides ankle support and below you can see an image for clarification:

We always want the heel counter of the shoes to be firm, as the firmer it is, the better ankle support it provides. A firm heel counter also helps prevent your kids’ ankles to move too much inside the shoes. The image below shows the difference between a shoe with a firm heel counter versus a shoe with a softer one:


I will show you how to treat the sprained ankle by providing you with a selection of the best children’s shoes that provide a substantial outsole and a firm heel counter.

Signs and Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain – Take Note!

If you notice that your child is having a hard time walking, mild to severe pain around the ankle area, or less movement in the ankle, then it’s very likely that your child has a sprained ankle.

Has your child been complaining about ankle pain? Pay close attention to any of these signs:

  • Swelling and bruising around the front and side of the ankle.
  • Tenderness around the areas of the bones.
  • Little or no tenderness over the bony prominences.

There are a couple of simple methods that you can start taking at home as soon as your child has sprained his or her ankles:

  • Rest the ankle for the first 24 hours.
  • Put ice packs onto the swollen or sore area for 30 minutes every four hours for three days.
  • Raise your kids’ ankle above the level of the heart to help reduce the swelling.

The Best Shoes to Treat and Prevent Ankle Sprains – 4 Key Features!

There are 4 important features that your kids’ shoes must provide to provide your child with good support around the arch and ankle area:

✅ Support: A shoe that provides the correct amount of support helps minimize the impact that your kids’ feet take every time they come in contact with the ground. When children are running or jumping their feet take a beating, and the ankles is one of the areas that gets affected the most. Let me show you the difference between a shoe that provides good support versus one that doesn’t:


✅ Flexible and Lightweight: The shoes must be supportive but lightweight and flexible at the same time to prevent your kids’ feet and legs from easily getting tired. Your kids’ shoes should always bend at the ball of the foot but no further.


✅ Firm Heel Counter: We already went over this feature at the beginning of the article.

✅ Shoelaces vs Velcro: I always recommend parents to provide their children with shoelaces instead of velcro closure, especially if you want to prevent sprained ankles. Shoelaces will hug your kids’ ankles and allow your child to get full support from the shoes. They will also reduce any remaining gap between your kids’ feet and the shoes.


Can we find a pair of shoes for your child that provides all of these features?

Yes, we can! I have fitted shoes with all of those features before and I will show them to you shortly.

I want to expand a little more on the importance of tying your child’s shoes properly. There is actually a specific shoe tying technique that if done correctly it will secure your kids’ ankles by pushing them against the back of the shoe, and fill any remaining gap around that area —this will also reduce ankle movement and prevent injuries — You can learn more about this shoe tying method in an article called:

How to Tie Shoes with Orthotics – Stop Heel Slippage!

Are you 100% Sure of Your Child’s Foot Size? – Let’s Find Out!

Keep in mind that the shoes must fit the shape of your child’s feet perfectly, which involves getting the correct shoe length and the correct shoe width. It’s extremely important for the shoes to not be too wide or loose around the ankles, as too much ankle movement can lead to injuries and foot issues.

This is the reason why I always recommend parents to take their kids to be properly fitted for shoes at their local shoe store, where a shoe fitter can properly measure their feet and find shoes that fit. The issue is that most parents don’t have a local kids’ shoe store that they trust and must end up purchasing their kids’ shoes online.

There is nothing wrong with buying your kids’ shoes online as long as you know your exact kids’ shoe size — length and width.

Let’s first start by checking if you have a good fitting children’s shoe store in your area. You can do this by taking a look at a resource I created where I describe the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores – Where To Go For Proper Fittings

How to Order the Correct Shoe Size Online

If you don’t have a children’s shoe store in your area, then take a look at a different article where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:

How to Measure Your Kids’ Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot size and whether the child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. I also will be able to tell you whether your child has a high instep or not.

Once you know your child’s exact foot size you are ready to order your kids’ shoes online.

Keep in mind that shoes can fit short, long, narrow, or wide, and depending on how they fit, you will need to adjust the final shoe size that you get for your child. For example; as a standard rule of thumb, children should wear shoes a half a size longer than their foot size to allow for the correct amount of growing room. However, if your child measures a foot size 8 in the shoe measuring scale but the shoes fit “short”, then you need to provide your child with a whole size longer instead of a half a size longer — so you will provide your child with a size 9 instead of an 8½.

Does this make sense to you?

Now that you know what features the shoes I recommend provide and how to figure out your child’s foot size from home, you are ready to see a selection of the best shoes for a child with a sprained ankle.

Keep in mind that all of the shoes I recommend are shoe styles that I have fitted before and I have tested the quality and support that they provide, as that is the only way for me to also tell how the shoe fits. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

The Best Shoes to Help Treat and Prevent Sprained Ankles

Below you can find a selection of the best kids’ shoes to prevent and treat sprained ankles. These shoes can fit children with narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet.

What Shoe Size Should You Order?

In each of the descriptions of the shoes I indicate whether you need to order a half a size or a whole size bigger than your child’s foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

*A half a size bigger translates to 3/16 of an inch or 0.4 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

*A whole size bigger translates to 3/8 of an inch or 0.8 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Do not hesitate to contact me directly via my e-mail if you have any further questions or if your child happens to have narrow feet and you need different shoe recommendations. My e-mail address is:


Now that you know how to treat the sprained ankle you can keep your kids’ feet and legs healthy!

Do you have a child with a sprained ankle? Is there a particular shoe style that you have tried that has worked well for your child’s feet? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.


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 kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

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