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Are your kids' shoes too tight?

Chances are you've pushed, pulled or shoved your child's feet into too-tight shoes.

Maybe your child had an overnight growth spurt. Maybe you bought the wrong size in the first place. Or maybe you're just trying to eke out a little more mileage.

A study presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American

IF THE SHOE FITS ...

Tips on fitting from the American Podiatric Medical Association:

Make sure shoes

have firm heel counter (stiff material on either side of the heel), adequate cushioning of the insole, and a built-in arch. It should be flexible enough to bend where the foot bends -- at the ball of the foot, not in the middle of the shoe.



Measure foot

while child is standing and fully weight-bearing.



Make sure

there is one-half inch of space (or a thumb's width) between the tip of the toes and the end of the shoe. The child should be able to comfortably wiggle his or her toes.



Shoes

should not slip off at the heels.



Measure both feet.

If one is bigger, chose shoes that fit that one.



Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons showed that 52.8 percent of outdoor shoes and 61.6 percent of indoor shoes were too small for the child wearing them.

One simple way to make sure you buy the right size shoes is to take your children with you and have their feet measured every time.

"We see children that have never had their feet measured," said Tracy Potter, owner of Little Feet children's shoe store in Meridian, Idaho. "And then you have to try the shoes on and feel them on the feet. Because even when they do have their feet measured, every brand of shoe is different."

And every foot is different.

"There are no two feet on a human body that are the exact same size. So both feet should be measured. And then the shoes should fit the larger foot," said Dr. Scott Graviet of the Podiatry Center of Idaho.

"Some kids will tell you if the shoe doesn't fit. But some kids will just keep cramming their toes into the shoe," Potter said. "You can feel the end of the shoe, but if they have their toes curled up, you won't always notice they're too small."

When it comes to individual brands and shoe styles, simple and natural is often preferred.

"Look for a seam or a stitch line that may be at an irritating spot on the shoe," Graviet said.

And those highly popular Crocs -- and their knockoffs?

"Those are fine beach shoes and pool shoes," said Potter, noting the shoes' material doesn't allow for the feet to breathe. "But they're not an everyday play shoe."


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