On September 24 thousands of school children across Canada will run with their classmates in the annual Terry Fox National School Run Day. It’s a great event that sees educators and school children running side by side to raise funds and awareness for cancer research and to remember Canadian hero Terry Fox.
Last year I participated in the Terry Fox run and was surrounded by many people, especially children. I was impressed to see these children running hard and fast but I was disturbed to see the number of them who were not wearing running shoes. Some of the children were running in rubber boots, while others were wearing moccasins or slip on shoes. A noticeable number of those who were wearing running shoes were literally running out of them as the laces were either undone or so loosely tied they sagged open.
As the Terry Fox Run is an annual event it is likely that busy parents forgot to check if their children had running shoes in their backpack or possibly they forgot the run was taking place. However, young children run in the playground every day. Children are continually playing games of tag, manhunt or simply running from place to place and for healthy foot development running shoes are the shoes they should be wearing.
Running shoes provide the support, stability, and cushioning children need when they are running, jumping and playing. Ill-fitting shoes may limit the motion of your child’s foot which may prevent their lower limbs from functioning properly and affect the way they walk. Shoes that are too big or too loose may lead to rubs, blisters or more serious foot, ankle and knee injuries. Equally important to ensuring your child is wearing properly fitted supportive running shoes are making sure he/she laces his/her shoes snugly all the time. If your child is too young to tie laces, Velcro tabs are an ideal alternative.
As a parent I understand how it may be tempting to give into your child’s demands to wear his/her favourite pair of slip ons, especially when you are rushing out the door to make it to work on time, but when it comes to footwear stand firm. Make running shoes non-negotiable on school days and let your child wear less supportive fun shoes for shorter occasions outside of school hours.
By Ermin Pagtakhan, C. Ped (C), Port Coquitlam, BC