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The word is spreading! Today saw Tess Daly supporting our campaign in her blog.
Campaign to keep teeny tiny feet healthy
By Tess Daly on Mar 16, 10 12:00 AM in For kids
Half of all babies will develop foot problems later in life caused by ill-fitting shoes, according
to research. So leading children's footwear brand Start-rite is supporting Healthy Little Feet
(www.healthylittlefeet.com), which aims to provide advice on kids' foot health.
Popular TV personality Sheree Murphy is set to join GMTV in January 2010 to front the brand new mini programme 'The Baby Breakfast Club'.
Aimed at Mums and Dads of all ages, The Baby Breakfast Club will take an informal look at parenting through all stages from expectancy to pre-school. Presented by Sheree Murphy, whose youngest child is 18 months old, the programmes will also be supported by various specialists and experts, including Dr Hilary Jones and nutritionist Amanda Ursell. Mums and Dads will also get their say in the daily discussion.
Mother of 3, Sheree said; 'As a parent myself, I am really excited to be presenting The Baby Breakfast Club for GMTV. I would have found it really useful when I had my first child for a programme like this to highlight the issues that you can face from parenthood. I'm looking forward to offering practical advice to new parents.'
In addition, busy parents will be able to access additional information, helplines and advice, as well as all the content from the individual programmes and videos through GM.TV
Catch Sheree on GMTV's 'The Baby Breakfast Club' on GMTV, CITV Channel and ITV4, from 11th January, Monday-Friday, 9.10-9.20am.
She has been widely criticised for allowing her three-year-old daughter to totter around in stilettos as if she were a teenager.
But actress Katie Holmes has now broken her silence on her daughter’s choice of footwear - and insisted they are just dancing shoes that any little girl would like.
Suri Cruise - Ms Holmes’ daughter with husband Tom Cruise, 46 - was photographed with her mother in Boston, Massachusetts, last month stumbling along in silver high heels.
It was the second time she had been seen wearing stack-heeled, T-bar shoes with peep-toes, and led to Ms Holmes and Mr Cruise being criticised.
But Ms Holmes, 30, has now defended her daughter’s fashions and insisted the youngster makes her own choice when it comes to footwear.
Ms Holmes - who has been married to Hollywood superstar Cruise for three years - told American TV show Access Hollywood: 'Like every little girl, she loves my high heels.
'They are actually ballroom dancing shoes for kids. I found them for her and she loves them.'
Health experts say frequent wear of heels could affect Suri's foot development.
New York podiatrist Dr Oliver Zong told Fox News: 'A common side effect of adults wearing heels too often is the tightening or shortening of the Achilles tendon.
'At Suri’s age, children are growing quickly, and you want everything growing at the same rate. If the tendon is not growing at the same rate as everything else, it could become a problem.
'If a parent allows their child to wear the heels in moderation, that’s one thing, but who’s to say what is moderate for a three-year-old child.'
Suri, who will be four next April, apparently already has a designer wardrobe of her own, estimated by some fashion experts to be worth around £2million.
Then there is her make-up collection. Like most little girls she is fascinated with cosmetics and has been seen wearing nail polish and lipstick.
However rather than a one-off treat, it is becoming more frequent, prompting some to question whether she is being allowed to grow up too fast. On the popular Mumsnet website, mothers of other youngsters certainly felt the youngster was being dressed inappropriately for her age.
‘Am I over-reacting or am I right in thinking that "celebs" should not be leading the way in sexualising children?' asked one.
‘I realise that there are days where your child may argue and argue to wear toy shoes (fair enough, some fights you just can't win) but this seems to be a regular thing with her.’
Another mum commented: ‘In a word, ridiculous. She's dressed like a grown woman! Not good. And to subject growing feet to high heels is very bad indeed.’
While yet another commenter posted: ‘Poor little girl. I just hope they'll send her to school with a strict and sensible uniform policy so she can look and dress like a little girl during school hours at least.
'I yearn for a little pinafore dress, pretty top, some tights, a cosy cuddly jacket and a pair of sensible shoes for her.’
Huge problems caused by bad shoes
Shoes are big business in the UK - we get through loads of pairs in a lifetime and spend a staggering £70 BILLION on them every year.
But new research shows that if you pick a pair because they look good instead of making sure they fit properly they can cause massive problems later on.
Experts say three quarters of women and two thirds of men have damaged feet.
And 70% of those problems were caused by wearing badly fitting shoes when they were younger.
Claw toes, collapsed arches, corns, bunions and spur heels are just some of the problems badly fitting shoes can cause.
Emma Supple is a foot doctor, called a podiatrist, who's treated loads of children with foot problems.
Foot doctor's top tips for healthy feet
She said because children's feet are still growing, if they wear poorly fitted shoes their feet can start to take the shape of those shoes.
She added: "If you wear bad shoes through your childhood, and your toes and your foot starts to change shape, then your knees will change and your hips will change and you'll start to develop problems other than your feet."
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_8290000/newsid_8290100/8290117.stm
Britain’s feet are a mess. We buy silly shoes when young and pay later in pain and podiatry bills that run into millions
Death and taxes may be the only certainties in life for some, but parents know that you can add a third in September: queues in shoe shops, as hundreds of thousands of children wait with their patient parents to be shod for the new school year. Clarks does a quarter of its annual business in this month alone. Yet according to a report published today, the money that parents save by buying their children cheap shoes is a fraction of the cost of treating the foot problems that will inevitably follow.
A YouGov survey for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SCP) suggests that more than three quarters of women and two thirds of men suffer from foot problems, yet nearly half fail to see a doctor or specialist about them. An estimated 70 per cent of these problems began in school — and with so many cheap fashion imports available, plus the popularity of off-the-shelf and mail-order shoes, “logic dictates that it is going to get worse,” says Gordon Watt, a paediatric podiatrist.
Is Britain facing a national foot problem? Three years ago, a study at Glasgow Caledonian University indicated that foot troubles often begin because of children’s excess weight, which can cause conditions such as fallen arches and arthritis in the major leg joints. When Clarks introduced its first ‘H’ fitting in the early Nineties, childhood obesity was only beginning to be recognised. According to Bob Harvey, who has worked at the company for 40 years, “we have been selling an increasing number of wider fittings ever since”.
Inactivity in the school holidays does not help, either, says Mike O’Neill, vice-president of the SCP. “A lot of children now spend much of their time in front of a screen, so the muscles in their feet and lower legs are not exercised. Trainers and light slip-on shoes without good shock absorption add to the problem, leaving their feet susceptible to strain and injury.”
Experts agree that, while some foot problems are caused by obesity, inactivity or inherited conditions, most can be blamed on inappropriate shoes. Lack of support in children’s shoes often leads to long-term joint and postural problems — and with Britain’s annual bill for foot problems alone (not including other conditions that these cause or aggravate) among the over-50s currently at £30 million, the overall cost is extremely high.
So what is wrong with our children’s shoes? Most people know that high heels and pointed toes are not good for feet, but other apparently innocuous style features can also be harmful. The flat, round-toed shoes currently in vogue for older children can be disastrous, says Watt: “Slip-on shoes without adequate heel support and no strap or lace, such as ‘dolly’ shoes and ballet pumps, can create problems that become impossible to treat.”
A common consequence is fallen arches, where the foot becomes flattened and starts to lose flexibility. “Claw toes” can result from flat slip-ons that make children grip with their toes to keep the shoe in place. The toe bones, which are still developing, develop an irreversible deformity.
“We increasingly see osteoarthritis in teenagers’ toes that has been caused by such footwear,” says Watt. ‘That affects how they walk, causing excess wear and tear on the big joints. And once you have toe deformities, they get worse with age.”
While children may not notice developing foot problems, adults are often wilfully neglectful. Emma Ap-Thomas, a public relations consultant, admits that she is typical of those whose pain is self-inflicted. “My feet grew very quickly when I was a child,” she says. “I started off in Start-Rite and Clarks lace-ups but in my teens I started buying my own shoes. Because they didn’t last long, I got cheap ones.” She knew that she had quite high arches but for years wore Converse and slip-ons that gave her feet inadequate support.
“I got fallen arches and my GP prescribed special insoles, but I had so many pairs of shoes [she admits now owning “about 60” pairs] that I didn’t always swap the insoles over.” The X-ray taken after her initial doctor’s appointment had one word on it: “deformed”.
Bunions and hammer toes followed and, more recently, Ap-Thomas learnt that she has arthritis in her big toe joints. Her feet hurt every day — but that is not the worst of it. “I get lower back pain, a knock-on effect of what is happening to my feet.”
And that, say foot specialists, is the problem. The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, as the old song goes — and, just as shaky foundations can lead to cracks in a house, foot troubles lead to back and lower-limb problems. The longer the foot troubles persist, the worse these become.
Yet we continue to place vanity above comfort. When Lorraine Jones, a podiatrist, worked as a consultant at John Lewis stores, she decided to test the “9 out of 10” rule developed by Carol Frey, an orthopaedic surgeon. Frey said that nine out of ten people wore shoes that were too small for them. When Jones measured the feet and shoes of 100 John Lewis employees “just out of curiosity”, she found that only one was wearing the right size shoes for his feet.
Women are more often the victims of harmful shoe styles than men. Today’s survey reveals that more than a third of British women have bought shoes knowing that they don’t fit well.
Any heel that is above 3in (7.6cm) high multiples the pressure on the ball of the foot sevenfold and, if worn regularly, shortens the Achilles tendon. When flat shoes are then worn, the tendon is stretched, becoming painful and, at worst, rupturing.
Any shoe without a strap or lace relies on tightness to keep it on, cautions Jones. “The average court shoe is at least a quarter of an inch (0.6cm) narrower than the foot — and the higher the heel, the shorter the shoe has to be to stay on.” Even custom-made shoes, such those worn by dancers, compress the soft tissues of the foot.
One of Jones’s patients developed an ulcer on a toe where her court shoe rubbed continually. The woman, who wore her elegant shoes every day to work, was loath to give them up. “It was only when she came to me with the ulcer so bad that I could almost see the bone underneath that I said to her, ‘It’s those shoes or that toe’. Then she agreed to stop wearing them.”
Many podiatrists believe that adults, like children, should have their feet measured. Adult feet are not growing but they do change over time and can alter shape because of pregnancy or weight gain.
Nessa Parkinson, 31, a recruitment consultant, found like most women that her feet spread when she was pregnant. She got through the nine months by wearing flat shoes but, when she stopped breastfeeding and the protective hormones dried up, she developed a condition known as plantar fasciitis, which affects the arch of the foot and makes it hypersensitive, “and a really painful heel spur [a hook of bone on the heel] that I’ve still got”.
Putting on weight creates extra downward pressure on the soft tissues, causing foot enlargement. But there is another, less well-known threat to the nation’s foot health. The number of diabetics in the UK has risen sharply over the past ten years and is predicted to continue rising. High blood glucose causes nerve damage — and the most vulnerable nerves are the longest ones, including those that go to the feet.
The number of toe and foot amputations in Britain has now reached 100 a week, and it is vital that diabetics have regular foot check-ups because the loss of sensation caused by the condition means that they may be unaware of developing problems.
Foot ailments also get worse with age. With an unusually broad foot, Sue Spencer, a 60-year-old management consultant from Derby, got by as a child with “boring sensible shoes” in the widest fitting. As she grew up, she switched to fashion footwear even though the styles were was not made in wide sizes. Added to that, she did a lot of competitive sport and had to cram her feet into what was available, which she believes predisposed her to the problems that started when she was 50.
“The small bunions that I’d managed with until then started to get bigger and to hurt. Ever since, I’ve only been able to wear MBTs and Birkenstock-style sandals,” she says. An orthotic insert in winter shoes helps “but the front of my shoes must be high and I have to go to Germany to get anything acceptable”.
Besides making walking and exercising harder for older people, foot problems can also affect balance, increasing the number of falls, fractures and time-consuming, expensive orthopaedic surgery.
What our feet need above all is support and cushioning, says Jones — and for that most of us need look no farther than the humble trainer.
“Trainers have had a bad press because of their association with sweaty teenage boys and the hype surrounding very expensive styles. But they are a great all-round shoe, particularly for people who may be at risk of joint problems and need good cushioning in the sole.”
Jones cautions against top-end trainers that boast of having extra cushioning: “If it is excessive, your brain won’t be able to judge instinctively where the edge of the foot is, and that makes falls more likely.”
So how will NHS foot services cope with all the overweight, old, arthritic and poorly shod patients limping to their door in years to come? Badly, if a new Department of Health report is anything to go by. Published in July, it suggested that services are patchy and that health authorities do not take footcare seriously enough.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult to get foot problems treated on the NHS,” says Fred Beaumont of the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. “ Diabetics receive automatic treatment but a lot of people have to go privately now. And we don’t feel that the profession is well controlled. Anyone can call himself a “footcare specialist” to get around the controls that were brought in for chiropodists and podiatrists but the quality or success of the treatment you’re offered isn’t guaranteed, even if you can afford it.”
Given that we spend £7 billion a year on footwear, paying again for podiatric care because we bought the wrong shoes seems a bizarre way to continue — but it will keep the practitioners on their toes for years.
Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists: www.feetforlife.org
Fit small feet
Always get children’s feet measured when buying new shoes (only a third of children are average fit). Return after a few months to have the fit re-checked. During growth spurts, a child can grow two sizes in a term.
Don’t buy shoes with more than the recommended “growing room” — they are a false economy, as they can cause numerous problems while the child grows into them.
Ensure that toenails are cut at least once a month, straight across to prevent thickened or ingrowing toenails. Check sock size regularly, too, as socks can shrink and affect nail and toe growth.
Act quickly and, if necessary, consult a podiatrist if you suspect a problem. This can worsen rapidly as a child’s foot grows and may cause permanent deformities if it is ignored.
Don’t allow older children to have heels higher than 3cm except for very occasional use.
Fit big feet
Ensure that soles are thick enough to provide adequate shock absorption, to limit wear and tear on the joints: we were designed to walk on earth, not concrete.
Check your fit: it is not only children’s feet that change over time. There should always be room to wiggle your toes.
If you suffer pain regularly, have your feet checked. Pain is not normal, even if you have been on your feet all day.
Choose shoes with a lace, buckle or Velcro fastening: support over the instep is necessary to stop the foot sliding and squeezing at the front.
Have two pairs of shoes for regular use, so that they can dry out: a foot has more than 200,000 sweat glands and can produce an eggcup of sweat in a day. Sweat can exacerbate skin and nail problems — and old sweat can rot shoes.