Michael Perlstein
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Board Certified Brooklyn Podiatrist
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  • To Shoe or Not to Shoe Children’s Feet

    The development of a child is a fascinating and exciting time. For parents, it seems there are new milestones every day. One of the major events for a child early in their development is when they take their first steps, and begin their life of walking.

    When most adults walk, shoes are typically a given. But adults walk farther and their feet are usually fully grown. With children, there is a bit of debate about when to start putting on shoes. Shoes and going shoe-less both have their ups and downs for children, and it’s difficult to say which is better. (Shoes before walking, however, can stunt foot growth and lead to other problems.)

    Here are some pros and cons to lacing up those tiny feet:

    Pros:
    Faster Walking
    Longer strides
    Increased weight-bearing ability
    Longer range of knee and ankle motion
    Increased tibialis anterior activity

    Cons:
    Higher rate of flat foot cases
    Reduced foot motion
    Reduced foot flexibility
    Higher prevalence of foot deformity

    The pros of getting tiny little shoes for new walkers seem to be more immediate benefits, while the cons can have a greater (negative) influence over time, but aren’t necessarily sure to be problems.

    Parents should be informed about these facts and decide what is best for their child as he or she develops. Shoes have both benefits and bad results and shouldn’t be worn around the clock. Feet need to grow on their own and have room to develop, but children’s shoes can also help build strength.

    As with almost everything, there is no perfect answer for when to start putting shoes on your children. If you would like to discuss the positives and negatives of children’s footwear more with an experienced Brooklyn foot doctor, contact Dr. Michael Perlstein. You can order his book Little Feet: A User’s Guide for free online.



    Dr. Michael Perlstein's podiatry office is located at 4414 14th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. He serves patients throughout the greater New York City area, including those residing in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

    Dr. Perlstein's office is open Monday through Friday as well as on Sunday.

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