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Why Your Kids Should Be Barefoot June 4, 2010

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Health, Shoes, Thoughts , trackback

Personally, I don’t remember going barefoot all that much as a kid.  I know I did my fair share, but I can’t say I ran around barefoot all my childhood.  In fact, I remember one instance as a child where my mom took me with her to my grandmother’s house to pick some apricots.  The lawn in the very back part of this property was pretty much all crabgrass.  It was stiff and I remember being barefoot on that specific occasion.  It hurt!  Obviously my feet were not used to running around barefoot all day.  Had my feet been conditioned by being predominantly barefoot, it wouldn’t have been a problem for me to traipse around sans shoes.

In 1992 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Rao & Joseph completed a study entitled The Influence of Footwear on the Prevalence of Flat Foot.  It was a survey of 2,300 children between the ages of four and 13.  This was their result:

The incidence among children who used footwear was 8.6% compared with 2.8% in those who did not (p < 0.001). Significant differences between the predominance in shod and unshed children were noted in all age groups, most marked in those with generalised ligament laxity. Flat foot was most common in children who wore closed-toe shoes, less common in those who wore sandals or slippers, and least in the unshod.

Our findings suggest that shoe-wearing in early childhood is detrimental to the development of a normal longitudinal arch.

For me, that pretty much sums it up.  I know there are a lot of hazards out there for barefooted children, but I personally consider it worthwhile to keep a vigilant lookout for hazardous material in order to allow them to develop properly.

Listen to your soles!


Rao, Udaya B., and Benjamin Joseph. “THE INFLUENCE OF FOOTWEAR ON THE PREVALENCE OF FLAT FOOT.” The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 74-B.4 (1992): 525-27. Print.

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