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Ask Dr. Marla: Hand-me-down shoes to our 5-month old


I was wondering if shoes that our two-and-a-half-year-old son wore could be handed down to our five-month-old son? I have found information that suggests we can use the same shoes and other information that says we cannot. Can you please help clarify?

People profile dr marla - ask dr. Marla: hand-me-down shoes to our 5-month oldAnswer:

To answer your question I turned to my colleagues in orthopaedics and podiatry. The overwhelming response I got was that the answer is absolutely no. While all children may start with flat foot structures, this will change as the child begins to walk. Studies show that the prevalence of flat foot can be determined by three factors: age, gender and weight. In other words, each child is unique in their development. As an infant begins to walk, one can expect by 16 to 18 months that the joints around the ankle – the ankle mortice – will start to move into position and continue to do so over the years to develop a more neutral foot structure.

My colleagues tell me that continues until age nine to 11. If there is over rotation or under rotation, different kinds of arches will develop. Proper shoes with proper support will help the biomechanical development of the foot. If your child wears a pair of shoes that are not fitted to them, they will not be offered the same kind of support. If the first child had a certain foot type, the shoe he wore would be impacted by its specific shape. The next child might have a different foot type and would be impacted in a negative way by his sibling’s used footwear.

It is important that shoes fit in both length and width. One can make the argument in this age group that the shoes seem hardly worn yet experts say that despite that, the shoes will indeed have imprints made by the first child. Shoes break in fairly quickly and will be a reflection of your first child which might not be a reflection of the second child.

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