If your podiatrist has prescribed an orthotic lift for your child's heel pain, then you need to make sure that your child wears the right kind of footwear. You can't just stick an orthotic in any old shoe and expect it to do its job without the right support. What do you need to think about when you're buying new shoes for your child?
Take the Orthotic With You
The most important part of choosing new shoes in this scenario is to take the orthotic with you to the shoe store. You need to try shoes on with the orthotic in place so that you can assess how the orthotic fits the shoe and how the shoe fits the orthotic. If you buy shoes without doing this, you run the risk that they won't fit right or work with the orthotic.
Understand How an Orthotic Affects the Foot
Wearing an orthotic device affects the way your child's foot sits in a shoe. For example, a lift may raise the heel slightly; it may also push the toes and front of the foot further down the shoe than normal. This may make some shoes uncomfortable to wear if your child's foot doesn't get the right support.
Plus, shoes that can't hold the orthotic securely may affect the way it works. If an orthotic slips around inside the shoe, it can't support the foot and your child may have to try to hold it in place when they walk which will be uncomfortable for them.
Generally, shoes with the following features will help:
- Look for shoes with a higher back heel. If your child's heel is pushed up, shoes with lower heels may not hold the foot securely in place, making them more prone to slip off.
- Try shoes with wider fronts and toes. If your child's foot is pushed down by the orthotic, narrow shoes may be too painful to wear.
- Try to avoid slip-on shoes for everyday use. While your child may be able to wear slip-ons every now and then, these aren't always the best option for daily use with an orthotic. Shoes with laces or Velcro straps are a better way to fasten shoes that have to deal with an orthotic.
- If you're buying sports shoes, avoid ones that have a lot of insole padding in them. Some sports shoes use insoles to correct posture problems – these insoles may interfere with your child's orthotic.
It's also worth talking to your podiatrist about suitable footwear to help manage your child's current heel pain and to prevent any issues that might happen again in the future. It may help to take along some of your child's current shoes to an appointment – as well as giving you general advice, your podiatrist can use these shoes to show you what works and doesn't work with your child's orthotic.