Nervous energy surrounds the household.

Mum and Dad are excited about the return of normality to the household and maybe a little more peace and quiet.

The children are anxious about the prospect of a new school year. Will they meet some new friends? What will their teachers be like? Will the school work and homework be hard?

It’s an exciting time of year for a lot of families.

Hopefully you’re all organized with a stable pair of light and comfortable school shoes with a little bit of wiggle room at the front, but not too much.

The start of the school year presents a lot of changes that can cause foot and ankle pain in children.

Growth

Long hours of day light and associated activity followed by a good amount of time in the cot typically leads to a growth spurt for most children in the spring and summer months. This growth spurt can predispose children to growth plate irritations of the heel and knee.

Tip: Prevention is better than cure. Encourage your child to perform calf, quadricep and hamstring stretches if you think your child has had a growth spurt.

 

New and unfamiliar sports

The start of the school year often means the commencement of a new sport. If your child is taking up running, jumping and landing sports such as basketball, gymnastics, tennis or football, please be cautious about how much they’re doing. Athletics carnivals are coming up also which can be a new and unfamiliar activity type.  Kids are pretty durable, but a large shift in dynamic activity can be hard on them.

Tip: Ease them into it and if they feel tired or sore following their sessions, encourage them to do a little less until they’re feeling up to it.

 

Footwear

New school shoes are yet another change that your child has to adapt to. Spending 8-10 hours in the one pair of shoes, 5 days a week isn’t wise for anyone and your children are no exception. Variation in footwear is a great way to minimize the risk of foot and ankle injuries.

Tips:

  • If your school allows it, encourage your child to wear PE uniform or runners a day or two a week.
  • If your child is walking or riding too and from school, get them to pack their school shoes and wear their runners on the commute.
  • Minimise the use of school shoes at home by encouraging barefoot walking around the house when getting ready for school. Shoes off at the door is a great way of doing this, and should help to keep the floors a little cleaner.
  • Any strategy to vary the footwear and to transition into a different and more suitable pair of shoes is a good idea. It should also help to prolong the lifespan of the school shoes by minimizing wear and tear.

We hope you find these tips helpful and that your child’s feet have a happy and healthy school year.

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