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HEALTHWATCH: Taking care of your feet

For many parents -- we pick our children's shoes by what's on sale.
Channel Three's Kathryn Daniel finds out from a Pensacola Podiatrist what footwear we should be buying and why.

Doctor Grace Torres-Hodges has an adorable shoe model for us.  But if she really had her way.
"When it comes to your feet, you want to keep as natural as possible, I'm a big advocate of barefoot."

Torres-Hodges says keep your little one out of shoes until they need them for protection outside, maybe even as late as two.  But when you are ready to buy forget fashion, go for function.

"Bend where the foot bends which is here at the ball of the foot.  Shoe should not twist and you should have a nice, firm counter."

Check the soles, the underside should be curve free.
"Not to be influenced by any twists or turns.  The shoe, this is straight, cut in half, runs straight."

On sneakers -- look for a rubberized layered sole.  They absorb shock and don't wash them too often.  That break down the foam insole that absorbs traction.
   
Torres-Hodges says in the south, we call all sneakers "Tennis" shoes.  But she says athletes really  need to buy sport specific shoes.

"That's part of their equipment.  Make sure you get them in the right equipment."
She says no heels for girls until after their teen growth spurt..  And check the fit of your son's shoes regularly. Boys often walk around in too-tight gear.

"Tend not to complain as much."))
Flip flops aren't Torres-Hodges favorite form of footwear.

"We're talking about a developing foot.  There's a lot of flex in them.  Why teach it a bad habit to start up with."

She says in flip flops -- toe muscles have to work constantly to hold on, leading to fatigue and improper stretching that causes twisting and instability. 
   
Her suggestion, beach wear with a back strap and a good toe cap.
And finally, Torres-Hodges says when it comes to shoes resist second hand stores and hand me downs.

Think of it like tires on a car.  Why would you put old tires on a new car?"

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