Has your child been complaining of foot and leg pain? Have you noticed them walking and running differently? Foot or leg pain is never normal, and there are certain steps you can take to reduce or completely eliminate the pain!
Children with low muscle tone, flat feet, or rolled ankles tend to pronate. The main problem is that every time these children take a step, their feet collapse, twisting their foot, legs, and knees and forcing their body out of proper alignment.
The correct type of shoes will improve your child’s posture, and help him or her walk and run straighter.
Let me prove it to you…
Let’s take a look at a picture of a child with flat feet wearing two different pair of shoes. The first picture shows a child wearing a pair of unsupportive shoes made by Nike.Do you notice how the feet are still pronating and turning in?
Now let’s take a look at a picture of the same child wearing a pair of supportive shoes made by Asics. Do you notice how the child’s feet look a lot straighter?
The reason why the child’s feet are not pronating anymore is because the shoes provide arch and ankle support, which is preventing the feet from collapsing. This will allow your child to walk and run straighter.
One of the greatest benefits of providing your child with good, supportive shoes is to improve their overall posture. During the period of time children grow, their posture is set for the rest of their lives, and it all begins with the foundation for their entire body, their feet!
The correct pair of shoes will improve your kids’ posture by aligning their feet and legs, and they will also prevent leg and back problems in the future.
The other issue with pronation is that it forces your kids’ toes to work harder each step, which leads them to more pressure on their toes, creating calluses, blisters, and corns, among other foot issues!
I have been fitting children’s shoes for over 10 years, and I work for a specialized kids’ shoe store where we specialize in children who have foot and leg problems. I am familiar with the best shoe brands and the best shoe styles for children, from actually having fitted them.
Did you know that something as simple as providing your kids with the correct pair of shoes can considerably improve the way they walk? In addition to helping your kids’ walk and run straighter, the correct type of shoes will reduce or fully eliminate the pain that your child might be experiencing.
Did you know that pronation can also occur from your child having rolled ankles? Let’s take a look at a picture of a child with rolled ankles:
In order to straighten your kids’ ankles, you must provide your child with a pair of shoes with 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 it looks like this:
Now let’s take a look at the difference between a shoe with a firm heel counter versus one with a soft heel counter. The first picture shows a shoe with a firm heel counter, since when I am pressing in that area it feels firm and it doesn’t bend.
The second picture shows a shoe with a soft heel counter:
Physical and occupational therapists are always referring children with foot and leg issues to our kids’ shoe store to be fitted for good, supportive shoes.
I always recommend parents to take their kids’ to their local children’s shoe store, where they can be properly fitted for shoes. However, a number of parents have contacted me asking me how and where they can get their kids’ shoes online, since they don’t have a local shoe store in their area that they trust!
If you are not sure whether you have a good fitting children’s shoe store in your area, START by taking a look at a map I created where I describe the best fitting shoe stores for kids in the United States:
I am here to help parents whose children are suffering from foot and leg pain and who don’t have a local children’s shoe store to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes. I can guide you not only through the process of finding good supportive shoes, but also through the process of providing your child with the correct shoe size!
If you were not able to locate a kids’ shoe store in your area, then proceed to take a look at an article along with a video I created where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:
Even though some people believe that kids can “grow out” of flat feet, this is actually false. In fact, if we don’t take corrective action at an earlier stage, the issue will lead to painful flat feet as adults. This is why it’s so important to take proper action and treat your kids’ feet earlier rather than later!
Early intervention will restore balance to your kids’ muscles and joints, which will help your child walk and run without pain or discomfort!
In this post I describe the best shoes for kids with pronation who are experiencing foot and leg pain!
Why is your Child Pronating? – Learn the Facts!
The main cause for pronation is believed to be hereditary. Pronation is a congenital defect which causes the muscles and ligaments of your child’s feet to become more loosely held in place, causing their feet to turn inwards when they walk and run.
Keep in mind that if your child is experiencing pronation before the age of 4, you shouldn’t worry about it to much. While some parents do want to intervene at an earlier age, it is recommended that parents wait until the child turns 4 years old or older.
Before then, you can provide your child with a pair of more substantial shoes and if that doesn’t help, you can always try a pair of orthotics.
How can you Tell if Your Child is Pronating? – Learn the Symptoms!
Figuring out if your child is pronating is easier than you might think! The first way is to look for unusual walking or running. If you see your kid walking or running differently, with his/her feet or legs turning in, that means your child is pronating.
The other way (and the easiest one) is to take a look at the shoes your child is wearing from behind, and you will be able to notice if the shoes are caving in or not (for this method to work your child should have worn the shoes for 2 to 3 months).
Take a look at the picture below for clarification. Do you notice how the shoe on the left is turning inwards while the shoe on the right is a lot straighter? The shoe on the left has been worn by a child with flat feet, and the shoe on the right is how the shoe used to look when it was new.
You are probably wondering what signs you should be looking for to find out if there are any issues with your kids’ feet. I break them down below:
- Your child complains of tired legs
- Your child asks to be carried or pushed in the stroller
- Your child is reluctant to walk
- Your child appears clumsy or uncoordinated
- Your child is unwilling to participate in sports
- You notice an unusual wear pattern on your kids’shoes
If your child is complaining of pain in any of the areas below, it might be a sign that your child is pronating!
- Ankle pain
- Arch Pain
- Low back pain
- Heel Pain
- Knee Pain
- Shin Splints
Will the Right Pair of Shoes STOP your Kids’ Pronation?
Yes, they will! The correct shoe style will prevent your kids’ feet from collapsing and turning in and allow your child to walk and run straighter. However, there is a limited selection of kids’ shoes that provide enough support and structure, but these shoes will make a huge difference in the way your child walks and runs!
These are not orthopedic shoes, they are regular running shoes that simply provide more support and structure. There are three key features that the shoes must provide to keep your kids’ feet healthy:
- Arch support
- Ankle support
- Shock absorption
The shoes must also be lightweight and flexible, while being supportive at the same time. If you want to stop your child from pronating, it all starts with wearing the correct type of shoes, and I will describe these shoes below. However, if you have tried the correct pair of shoes and your child is still pronating, you may have to consider providing your child with a pair of orthotics.
What are the Best Type of Shoes for a Child that Pronates?
Supportive and sturdy shoes are best for a child who is pronating. However, it’s not easy to identify these type of shoes since there are not that many of them available. However, I have been fitting these type of shoes for over ten years and I know exactly which shoe styles are better than others.
Once I have fitted a child in a pair of supportive shoes I proceed take them outside the shoe store to watch them walk. I always ask the parents to come with me so they can see the difference for themselves, and 75% of the time we can see an improvement right away, but in certain cases it might take up to two weeks before seeing an improvement.
Providing lace-up sneakers instead of Velcro closure for your child is always better, since shoelaces provide more stability and support, since shoelaces hug your kids’ fee better, providing more support and more stability!
Below you can find a selection of the best shoes for kids’ with pronation. The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet (choose the width accordingly).
This selection of shoes fits “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 foot measuring tool (Brannock device), in order to allow for growing room.
If you must provide your child with a pair of Velcro sneakers, you can find the best styles below:
This selection of shoes also fits “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.
I have fitted all of these shoe styles before and they have proven to significantly improve the way children walk and run . All of these shoe styles have a very firm heel counter, good arch support, and excellent structure to provide your kids with shock absorption!
Orthotics for Kids with Pronation – When the Shoes are Not the Solution!
Sometimes a pair of supportive shoes is not enough to improve and correct the way your child walks. If you have tried a pair of supportive shoes for your child and he or she is still having foot pain or walking differently, you might want to try a pair of orthotics.
A pair of orthotics will help redistribute your kids’ body weight, correct the abnormal placement of the foot , and make their gait balanced and efficient!
Orthotics will help improve your kids’ posture and reduce or completely eliminate the excess stress on their knees and hip joints. While I don’t discuss the importance of providing your kids’ with orthotics in as much detail in this article, I have written another article with a video where I describe the best orthotics for children with foot and leg pain.
You can find that article here:
Please don’t ignore your kids’ foot and leg pain! Remember that pain in your kids’ feet and legs is never normal, and the earlier you take action the better! You will end preventing future problems such as back, leg, or knee pain!
Also, if your children are involved in sports. which stresses their feet and legs at a whole new level, you can reduce the impact on their feet, legs, and knees by providing them with the correct pair of shoes and orthotics.
Have you found a particular shoe style that has improved the way your child walks and runs? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so other parents can benefit from them!