There’s nothing so heart melting as cute toddler shoes. They’re so little and so adorable on toddling, stumbling little feet. Here’s the issue though, toddler feet are precious – they’re extremely complex, growing rapidly and brand new to being “used”. They’re delicate and malleable. While those gorgeous little first walkers are a steal at $5… the long term cost could be detrimental.
Toddler shoes and hammer toes
OK, so not the prettiest feet in the world right? These are hammer toes. They’re not pretty but more importantly, they can cause big problems later in life. Hammer toes are a deformity where the longer toes point down or sideways. This deformity can be mild or it can lead to deformed bones. Hammer toes can be caused by genetic factors but most commonly they’re the result of ill-fitting shoes in early childhood. Cute toddler shoes that you find at discount stores are a big potential contributor to hammer toes because they’re made from rigid plastic and are often “ill fitting” and lacking in proper support.
Is your toddler at risk of hammer toes?
Take a look at your little one’s feet. If the second or third toe protrudes beyond the big toe, your child is at risk. If your child has high arches, has had broken toes or comes from a family with a history of foot deformities or childhood arthritis, your child is more likely to develop hammer toes in childhood or later life.
Are hammer toes serious?
Hammer toes can be a mild (and somewhat… unattractive) annoyance, especially in childhood and early adulthood. As your child ages however, hammer toes can lead to far more serious complications. If a hammer toe becomes painful or problematic (often due to arthritis) your child may require surgery to cut her tendons and reset her bones.
As your child grows too, the toenail may become thickened, causing pain, ingrown nail issues and even infections. As the toes are particularly susceptible to poor circulation, hammer toenails can lead to serious complications. If your child develops diabetes or other circulatory issues later in life, hammer toes can contribute to major health issues.
So, how can you prevent hammer toes with toddler shoes?
It sounds crazy right? That your choice of footwear for your little one could have such a great impact on their lifelong health. Cute toddler shoes that enclose the toes in tight, low quality plastic could spell the beginning of hammer toes.
- Invest in quality leather toddler shoes
- Invest in soft toddler shoes – avoid rigid plastic
- Have your toddler’s feet properly measured either instore or using a downloadable foot sizing chart if buying toddler shoes online
- Make sure that the longest toe has “wiggle room”
- Opt for open toe toddler shoes like sandals – their feet GROW so fast
- Ask your GP to check your child’s feet for high arches or other warning signs of future foot problems
- Don’t just choose adorable toddler shoes, look for fit and quality first, cuteness second.
Cute toddler shoes vs safe toddler feet
Yes there are very cute toddler shoes out there that allow for safe development of your baby’s feet. These might be more expensive than the hard plastic at your local discount store – and let’s face it, toddler feet do grow soooo fast, but the long term benefits are worth it.
Opt for a little barefoot time, sandals and other open toed shoes in summer and high quality, leather, well fitted toddler shoes in winter. Practical, quality, but definitely still cute toddler shoes help your child’s developing feet to stay on course their whole life time.
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