Do you have a child that is complaining about knee pain? Are you assuming that is probably just growing pains but you are planning to make a trip to see your physical/occupational therapist to have your child’s knees check?
Maybe you already went to see your child’s doctor and were told that your child will grow out of it, but you are still worried.
There might be several reasons of why your child might be experiencing knee pain and they range from injuries and medical conditions to infections. However, if your child is complaining about knee pain, the first step is to start by checking the shoes that your child is wearing. One of the most common reasons of why children experience knee pain is from wearing the wrong type of shoes.
I have found that shoes play a key role in keeping your kids’ feet, knees, and legs healthy. The type of shoes that you provide for your children will affect the amount of impact that their knees take every time their feet come in contact with the ground. Your kids’ shoes are the first line of defense in dealing with knee pain.
There are certain shoe styles that will help take pressure of the knee joint by promoting proper leg alignment and balance, and I know exactly which shoe styles these are since I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now.
This experience has afforded me many insights into children’s shoes and the way they fit. Our store specializes in shoes for children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. Most children that came to the store experiencing knee pain were either wearing unsupportive shoes that were also the wrong size. From my experience fitting thousands of kids, I have become familiar with the best shoe brands for children with knee pain and the best styles among those brands.
I have noticed that the most common reasons of why children experience knee pain are:
- Flat Feet
- Rolled Ankles
The one thing that these 3 foot conditions have in common is that they can all be treated by wearing the correct pair of shoes. In certain cases, your child might need a pair of orthotics as well, but it all starts by wearing the correct type of shoes.
Let’s take a look at the image below. Does it look familiar? Do you notice how the child’s feet are collapsing and turning inwards?
When children have a foot condition such as flat feet or overpronation, their feet collapse, which throws their whole body out of alignment. This usually leads them to putting pressure in parts of their bodies where they are not supposed to, which usually leads to knee pain.
For comparison purposes, let’s take a look at two other pictures of a flat footed child standing barefoot and a different one of the same child wearing shoes.
Do you notice how much straighter the child’s feet look from wearing the correct pair of shoes? The substantial sole of the shoes and the firm heel counter are preventing the child’s feet from collapsing and turning inwards.
It’s important for parents to understand that not all children’s shoes are the same. They vary considerably in the amount of cushioning and support that they provide.
There has been a long term debate on whether children should wear substantial and supportive shoes or lightweight and flexible ones.
From my 10 years of experiencing fitting children’s shoes and observing what works by actually testing different shoe styles, I can tell you that the most effective shoes that help treat and prevent knee pain are supportive but lightweight and flexible at the same time.
Let’s visualize what I mean. The shoe style below provides good arch and ankle support, but it’s lightweight and flexible at the same time:
I have tested and fitted most children’s shoe brands, and while there is no particular shoe brand that is ideal for preventing and treating knee pain, there are certain brands that consistently manufacture better shoe styles than others.
We want to find a shoe style that won’t interfere with your child’s normal stride pattern, meaning that we need to stay away from rigid and stiff shoes and look for shoes that offer cushion and flexibility at the same time.
I know exactly which children’s shoes offer good support and flexibility at the same time from having fitted them before. You should be able to easily bend your child’s shoes up to a certain degree, but make sure that the shoes are not flexing all the way. The image of the shoe stye above shows a shoe with the correct amount of flexibility.
If you are able to twist your kids’ shoes into a spiral, then the shoes are too flexible and won’t provide the correct amount of support for your child. Take a look at the image below for clarification:
Providing your child with the wrong pair of shoes can lead to your child putting more pressure on the knee, which will aggravate the pain.
It’s important for parents to understand that knee pain is a symptom that can affect people from all ages. Several doctors have mentioned how knee pain is one of the most common problems that they see in young kids, preteens, and teens. They also agree that children who are involved in sports or high impact activities are more prone to developing knee pain.
I will provide you with a selection of the best shoe styles for knee pain shortly. These styles have proven to be the most effective ones in helping treat and prevent knee pain. After wearing these shoe styles for 3 weeks your child’s knee pain should be significantly reduced or fully eliminated. If the pain persists, then I recommend taking your child to be evaluated by your doctor.
Shoes for Kids with Knee Pain – The 3 Most Important Features!
In order to reduce the pressure on your child’s knees your kids’ shoes must provide the following 3 important features.
✅ Substantial Sole: Supportive shoe that provide good arch support and shock absorption will help minimize the impact that your kids’ knees take every time they come in contact with the ground. Always make sure that your child’s shoes come with a substantial sole that is supportive and that is not flat.
If you are able to bend your child’s shoes in half like shown in the image below, then your child’s shoes don’t provide the correct amount of support. Take a look at the image below for clarification purposes:
✅ Firm Heel Counter: The heel counter is the back part of the shoe that provides ankle and heel support. Sometimes children can experience knee pain from having rolled ankles. Always make sure that the heel counter of your kids’ shoes are firm and sturdy.
Now let’s take a look at the difference between a shoe with a soft heel counter (first picture), and one with a firm heel counter (second picture).
✅ Lightweight and Flexible: We want the shoes to be supportive, but lightweight and flexible at the same time in order to prevent your kids’ feet from easily getting tired. Your kids’ shoes should always bend at the ball of the foot but no further. It’s important for your kids back to school shoes to be flexible but not too flexible otherwise they won’t provide enough support.
In addition to providing these 3 important features, your children’s shoes must fit the shape of your kids’ feet correctly.
If you provide your child with shoes that are too long, too short, too narrow, or too wide, you will end up compromising your child’s stability, making your child more prone to falling down. Your kids’ shoes must fit just right!
I have seen several cases in which children complain of foot and leg pain due to not wearing the correct shoe size.
Before you buy a pair of shoes for your kids online, you must be 100% sure that you know their exact foot size. To assist parents in determining their kids’ shoe size at home effectively and with ease, I created a video tutorial:
I also created a map of the United States that showcases the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state. Go to the link below:
Now that you know what features your kids’ shoes need to provide and how to figure out your child’s exact foot size from home, you already to take a look at a selection of the best shoes for kids with knee pain.
The Best Shoes for Kids with Knee Pain ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I only review shoe styles that I have fitted before, since that is the only way for me to tell how well-made and supportive they are, and how they fit.
All of the shoe styles that I recommend below come with shoelaces instead of Velcro closure, since shoelaces provide better support and stability.
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 standard shoe measuring scale (Brannock device) in order to allow for growing room.
Parents need to start being more conscious about the key role that shoes play in keeping their feet and legs healthy. The correct pair of shoes can help minimize pain and maximize your child’s ability to get out and play.
Please keep in mind that the wrong pair of shoes can exacerbate your kids’ existing problems and cause additional damage to other joints in the future.
The knees are the largest join in your child’s body, and it takes a lot of impact. Make sure you make time and have your child stretch regularly.
Has any of the shoe styles that I recommend worked well in reducing or fully eliminating your child’s knee pain? Have you found another shoe style that has been effective in treating and preventing your child’s knee pain? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.