Did you know that CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease) affects one in every 2500 kids in the U.S.?
This disease usually affects the nerves that control movement and sensation, which leads to our children muscle tissue to begin to weaken.
It’s important to understand that there is no cure for CMT, but there are different treatments that can be applied to relieve the symptoms your child might be experiencing and delay the start of physical disabilities.
While this disease cannot be cured, there is one important factor you must consider and that is taking good care of your child’s feet, since feet are at an increased risk of injury and infection.
This article will only describe the best type of shoes and orthotics that will relieve some of the pain that your child might be experiencing by providing arch and ankle support, and at the same time improve the way your child walks. The right type of shoes and orthotics will also help your child to stay mobile and prevent injuries.
I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for ten years at a premier specialty children’s shoe store, a leader in proper fit for over forty years. We specialize in fitting children with foot and leg problems as well as provide regular shoe fittings for all children, whatever their needs are.
At the shoe store that I work for, we get referrals from physical and occupational therapists for children to be fitted for the correct type of shoes and orthotics, and the shoes make a tremendous difference in the way the child walks and runs. They also help reduce the foot and leg pain that the child might be experiencing.
I have been told by different doctors how treatment that is introduced early in children with CMT is most effective, since it will be easier to slow this disease progression than to reverse it once it’s already in place.
CMT is a hereditary disease, so if you have someone in your family who have had this disease, your child might have a higher risk of developing it.
Wearing the correct type of shoes is really important for children with CMT, but many parents struggle to find well-fitting shoes for their kids because of their high-arched feet and hammered toes.
In this article I will describe the best shoes and orthotics for children who are experiencing Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, but first let’s take a look at what are some of the most common CMT symptoms.
Symptoms OF CMT – Keep An Eye On How Your Child Walks!
Some of the most common symptoms of CMT are:
- Your child will seem clumsier than his or her peers and more prone to falling down.
- Your child might develop foot deformities, such as high arches or hammertoes.
- You will notice muscle weakness and decreased muscle mass in the feet and lower legs, (it will also affect hands and arms as the disease advances).
If your child has any of these symptoms, you should take him or her to a physician who will look closely for evidence of muscle weakness, reduce muscle tone, high arches, or flat feet.
How To Treat CMT? – Shoes And Orthotics!
The most common methods of treatment for CTM are:
- Physical therapy: this is very effective since it will help prevent your child’s muscle loss and will strengthen his or her muscles. Physical therapy will also help prevent further nerve damage and deterioration.
- Occupational therapy: since this disease usually starts with muscle weakness in the feet and legs (it can later move into arms and hands), occupational therapy will help strengthen the muscles used for these tasks.
- Orthopedic devices: special shoes with good arch and ankle support as well as supportive braces will provide stability and help make daily tasks easier for your children.
The Best Shoes For Kids With CMT – Relieve The Pain!
It’s important to note that the weakness of our kids’ muscles will lead to painful foot deformities, difficulty walking and climbing stairs, and injuries as a result from trips and falls.
What do all these issues have in common?
They involve our kids’ feet and legs.
The right type of shoes and orthotics will help support the feet for easier walking and running.
If you choose the correct type of shoes for your child they will help minimize the pain that your child might be experiencing (deeper and wider shoes will prevent the bunions from rubbing against the shoes), and allow him or her to walk and run straighter (preventing from putting pressure in parts of their feet and legs where they are not supposed to).
Here is a selection of the best shoes for children who have CMT (the shoes below will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide feet):
This selection of shoes 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 in order to allow for growing room.
If you will be fitting an orthotic inside any of these shoes styles (children with CMT normally need AFO braces which take a lot of room inside the shoes), you should consider going a whole size to a whole size and a half of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale.
NEVER fit your child in shoes that are two whole sizes up of the size that he/she measures in the shoe measuring scale. You will end up compromising your child’s stability and making your child more prone to falling down.
The Best Orthotics For Children With CMT – Support Their Feet!
When it comes to orthotics, I always recommend parents to talk to their physical or occupational therapist to see what they can recommend.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have your child to be evaluated for orthotics. Even if you must travel a long distance, it will be worth it! Some of our customers travel up to an hour to be properly fitted for shoes and orthotics.
If you don’t have one in your area, below you can find the most effective AFO brace that I have fitted before.
If you decide to try this AFO brace please take it to your local physical or occupational therapist along with the shoes, and see if the therapists agree with the shoes and brace as they watch your child walk.
Do you happen to have a children’s shoe store in your area that you TRUST? I get contacted by parents daily asking me if I know about a good children’s shoe store in their area. If you happen to have one, please let us know in the comments section below so we can all benefit from your experience.