Just as you would ensure your glasses, lenses and contact lenses are ready for the new school year, doing the same for your feet is worthwhile. As this could be the largest number of students and teachers returning to in-class learning post covid, you want to be prepared. To be on the safe side for your feet, here is a guideline to help you walk to, from, and while at school, no matter your age.
If you or your children are changing schools and would be walking a greater distance, consider good quality footwear. A Canadian Certified Pedorthist is trained and educated to help provide you with the best footwear and foot support alternatives, styles and fit to meet your lifestyle choices for any age group. When you need to change out of outdoor footwear to indoor, your Pedorthist can help you select and make the right choices. If Velcro closures are more convenient (for outdoor recess, lunch hour), your Pedorthist can assess your footwear to ensure it has the structural merits for daily use. They can also provide you with simple shoelace techniques and alternatives to velcro, such as “plastic spring stop toggle cord locks” that work with the shoelaces already in footwear. If custom foot orthotics are worn in footwear, now is the time before school begins to see your Pedorthist. They could refurbish your present ones and or provide you with new ones. They could also discuss off-the-shelf footbed alternatives that can fit most footwear.
Make the time to map out the route to your school. If you travel by bus or subway and carry a backpack, lace-up footwear will keep your feet and toes supported and protected from being stepped on or bumped. Plan on extra time before you travel to your first class to have your footwear ready to go. Try and make a new habit of checking the wear of your footwear’s outsole and upper material weekly. If they need to be replaced, see your Pedorthist.
For after-school sports and outdoor activities, consider wearing the most supportive footwear. This can help prevent lower limb and foot injuries like Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Waterproof footwear for extreme wet conditions is recommended to keep your feet dry and protected. Keep an extra dry pair of footwear with you as a backup if you have no access to a locker or closet space. Specialty courses like outdoor education and environmental science may require hiking boots or low-cut versions.
Pack blister bandages of assorted sizes for cuts and abrasions to various places on the feet and toes. Thin paper tape and cotton baton are a quick alternative to an adhesive bandage. It can be applied to the foot’s top and sides without too much thickness to maintain space inside your footwear. Kinesiology tape is valuable as a post-sports injury recovery option and applied to bare skin. It is commonly used for Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. It can be smart to have foot powder on hand. When applied between the toes after sports activities can help prevent most skin conditions like athlete’s foot.
Check the fit, size and worn condition of your children’s shoes 3-4 weeks before they head back to school. Allow for extra length in the toe box for overall foot growth, provided there is minimal heel slippage when the footwear laces or velcro is fastened.
For after-school sports, shower sandals would help protect the soles of your feet and prevent the spread of viruses (plantar warts). For further help and tips, your Canadian Certified Pedorthist will be happy to help. You can find one at https://www.pedorthic.ca/.
Richard May, C. Ped (C)