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Why two thirds of children are wearing the wrong size shoe.

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Posted by john under Health

What size shoe does your child wear?

Does it constantly change depending on the style or brand?

And how long before they grow and need another size altogether?

Buying kids’ shoes isn’t easy.
But the problem is made worse by the fact there’s no accurate or consistent labelling system. A size 10 in one brand isn’t the same length as a size 10 in another! And US, UK and NZ sizing doesn’t always match up.
Kids under 5 aren’t good at deciding whether a shoe fits well or not. Their nervous systems aren’t fully developed, so even if a shoe is much too small they don’t feel any discomfort.

So how do you find the perfect fit?

The answer is surprisingly easy. Measure your child’s foot then add 12mm.
Extensive research in Austria shows this will guarantee you get the right size shoe that won’t cause long-term damage to your child’s feet.

Why getting the right size matters.

Badly fitting shoes can:
  • Cause blisters and reddened skin
  • Distort the natural position of the toes, causing joint pain and bunions
  • Lead to muscle and tendon pain
  • Shorten the foot muscles
  • Cause circulatory problems like varicose veins or sensations of cold and numbness
  • Cause a change in posture resulting in knee, hip and back problems

Why 12mm is the key?

Shoes are designed to flex in a certain spot underneath the ball of your foot.  If shoes are too long or too short, this ‘break line’ will be in the wrong place and can cause skeletal and muscular problems.  12mm will ensure the break line is correct no matter what brand of shoe you buy.
Kids’ feet are as soft and pliable as rubber, so they can squeeze into shoes that are too small. But if stress is placed on the soft sections of their bones, permanent damage can be done. This will affect their joints and determine how they walk or run for the rest of their lives.

What to look for when buying shoes.

Foot Mechanics suggests you follow these simple steps:
  • Trace the outline of your child’s foot. Add 12mm to the length, and cut a strip of paper from their longest toe to their heel. Use this as a measuring guide when shopping.
  • Put your thumb and fingers on either side of the shoe and do a ‘squeeze test’. There should be room for the material to give a little. If it’s too tight there’ll be too much pressure on the side of the foot.
  • Use laces or Velcro straps to tighten the width if there’s too much room.
  • Always measure both feet as they’re not always exactly the same size.
  • Buy shoes late in the day. Our feet expand in both length and width during the day, and kids are no exception.

Are you worried about your kids’ feet?

Foot Mechanics can do a biomechanical assessment of your child’s feet. To see a podiatrist in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Mount Maunganui, Rotorua, Taupo or Palmerston North, phone 0800 436 6860800 436 686 for an appointment.
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How To Avoid Ingrown Toenails This Winter

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Posted by john under Health

Do you suffer from ingrown toenails the minute summer ends and you put shoes and socks back on?

As winter approaches, this is a very common (and very painful!) problem.

Here's how to stop toenails from digging into your skin (and what to do if trouble strikes)

But first: How to tell if you have an ingrown toenail

You’re likely to have an ingrown toenail if the skin next to your toenail is:

  • red
  • swollen
  • has pus
  • is rotting
  • is sore to touch

And because you're on our feet all the time, it’s important to treat ingrown toenails as quickly as possible before things escalate.

Our toes’ winter woes

Why are ingrown toenails a problem heading into winter?

Because jandals don’t place pressure on the sides of our feet, so it’s not until we wear closed-in shoes again in cooler months that bacteria really get to work.

If some sand or dirt is trapped down the side of your toenail then a warm, moist environment can quickly lead to an infection. 

What can I do?


  1. The best way to avoid ingrown toenails is to cut them correctly. In most cases this will be straight across, and not too short (so the skin next to your nail doesn’t fold over it). 
  2. If you have particularly ‘curvy’ nails, you will need to cut around the edge that curves down at each side. This is a tricky thing to get right so ask your podiatrist to show you the correct technique.
  3. Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight or too short.
  4. Soak your foot in warm water and disinfectant like Dettol. Use your thumb to gently massage and flush water down the side of your nail to loosen any dirt or debris.
  5. Remember that repeatedly cutting your toenail can make the problem worse!


When should I get professional help?

If you’re still having trouble, it’s time to see an experienced podiatrist. 

The offending piece of nail can usually be easily removed and any infection treated. 

And if ingrown toenails are an ongoing issue for you, permanent removal of a portion of your nail can be a good option. But don’t worry, this is not as painful as it sounds! It’s a surprisingly easy procedure using local anaesthetic and a special chemical that prevents the troublesome piece of your nail from growing back. It’s virtually pain-free and 99 per cent effective.

Can we help?

At Foot Mechanics we're experts in solving foot pain, and ingrown toenails are a specialty.

Call us on 0800 436 686 to book an appointment, or follow this link to learn more and request an appointment over email.

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