When it comes to child development, you’ll do anything to make sure your baby is on the right track toward hitting milestones. There is a lot of competing information out there as to what is best for your child’s development, but did you know that there are long-standing studies showing that being barefoot is best for your baby? You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t wear heels if you want to avoid back problems, but that shoeless advice also extends to your children, too.
Even though you’re likely afraid that if children are barefoot they might cut their feet, step on something sharp, or otherwise injure themselves, these are all unlikely scenarios with short-term consequences compared to the long-term negative effects of improper shoe-wearing. One study found that “stiff and compressive footwear may cause deformity, weakness, and loss of mobility” in young children.
The Negative Impact of Shoes on Development
As children begin to learn how to walk, their feet and legs are changing constantly as they grow in order to align the knees and hips properly for a smooth gait. As children’s gait improves, the arches in their feet will also grow in height, which is a sign of healthy and proper alignment. When children walk barefoot, they’re able to feel the surfaces they are walking on, allowing their bodies to adapt and respond to terrain in a way that helps their coordination, balance, neuromuscular strength, and posture.
The main problems that occur from shoe wear are in-toeing or out-toeing and flat-footedness. In-toeing (or what we commonly refer to as “pigeon-toed”) and out-toeing (or excessive turn out) typically occur in children when their legs and feet haven’t aligned properly. Flat-footedness occurs when arches haven’t developed properly. In one Bone and Joint Journal study, researchers looked at 2,300 children and found that “shoe-wearing in early childhood is detrimental to the development of a normal longitudinal arch.” These issues can lead to spinal misalignment, muscle weakness, and lack of mobility in the short-term and long-term, creating issues like bad posture, back pain, and plantar fasciitis.
How Chiropractic Plays a Role
These alignment and arch problems can have long-lasting consequences beyond what you’d normally associate with shoe-wearing. Because the foot is home to so many bones, tendons, muscles, and nerve-endings, the feet are in constant communication with the spine and nervous system. Chiropractic care at Greater Life Chiropractic seeks to correct misalignments that impact the spinal cord and nervous system to treat the whole body, which includes gait, arch, and leg alignment issues caused by restrictive shoe-wearing in young children.
If you’re already a practice member of Charlotte chiropractor Dr. Grant Lisetor, you know that Dr. Lisetor and the entire Greater Life Chiropractic team are committed to the holistic health of your entire family—including the tiniest members. Dr. Lisetor is passionate about improving the lives of his practice members through adjustments in order to ensure that the nervous system is functioning optimally. Have Dr. Lisetor evaluate your family to make sure your nervous system and spinal alignment are all working properly. Book an appointment today!