"The Heart of the Matter"

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Week: 550.5 Guest: Dr. Hartley Miltchin, Podiatrist, Ontario, Canada Topic: Getting the right athletic shoes for kids Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: Kids' shoes...if you have kids, you know they always seem to be changing sizes...and they need them for every sport under the sun. So you have to know about your kids' feet, and how to get them footwear that will be comfortable and prevent problems. With us today is Dr. Hartley Miltchin of Ontario, Canada....

MILTCHIN: When looking for a shoe for a child, one of the things you should look for is a firm, resistant heel counter, which is the part where the heel sits, and that helps to minimize any of the rear foot or heel motion that occurs, especially in activity. And the foot frame is usually a polymer type unit that supports the upper sole of the shoe and runs along the outside of the shoe. It's quite evident in cross training shoes. And some even have plastic stability straps that attach to where the laces are and the eyelet's...and that sort of provides both the front part and the rear foot with some stability. The other thing to look for is good cushioning in the shoes... good cushioning absorbs the shock so that the feet and the lower body and the knees don't absorb it...and one of the materials is called EVA, and it's a very high-tech cushioning material. Pretty much the same as they'd use in an adult shoe. The other thing is that a lot of parents will buy children's shoes a little bit larger and hope that they grow into them...and that's a very big mistake. Because shoes that are larger than the foot can cause children to trip at times. A lot of activities will make the child's feet swell even up to as much as a half size...so you don't want to buy the shoes too tight. Really, there should be a thumbnail's width between the end of the longest toe, and the tip of the shoe. And they should be able to wiggle their toes very freely. For children, they can change shoe sizes up to 34 times before the age of 10...so every time you go in to buy shoes you should have their feet measured.

NEMA: A lot of people may look at the athletic shoe and those side straps you mentioned and think they're kind of gimmicky...you don't think so?

MILTCHIN: I think they help considerably...especially in my experience with people who are skaters or hockey players, and it lends a great deal of stability to the foot, and if it works in skaters, we know that it's going to work for whatever type of shoe we're going to use for whatever activity.

NEMA: A lot of people will buy the best footwear for their feet but still believe kids are so durable, that they don't buy good shoes for them...

MILTCHIN: Well, that's a big mistake, because most of the adult foot problems begin in childhood. You must understand that children's feet are very pliable, they're very resilient...and a child isn't going to complain much, even though a shoe is doing them harm, they're so busy and active, they're not going to really complain.

NEMA: You believe kids should see a podiatrist regularly...?

MILTCHIN: I realize that most children are taken to the dentist, and to the eye doctor to have everything checked out before the problems start. And it should be the same thing with the feet.

NEMA: We talk about prevention in many areas...and Dr. Miltchin says, include the feet....and buy the good athletic shoes in the right size, and your youngsters will thank you for it later. I'm Steve Girard.


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