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The impact of wearing small shoes and worn-out shoes: Deformities and Problems!

the impact of wearing small shoes

How can you tell it is time to replace a new pair of shoes for you or your kids? Do you check their shoes regularly? Does the kids tell you they need to change their shoes? And do you know the impact on them by wearing a pair of worn out shoes?

Here are some pointers:

Check the inside of the shoes

You would not know what is happening inside of the shoes unless you take out the insole of the shoes. To my suprise, i have seen cases where the original insole was presented with a big hole on their big toes as well as some of the weight bearing areas of their feet. Removing and observing the insole can assist you with identifying the pressure areas and how your child walk; their gait patterns.This can sometimes be handy to tell the type of their foot shapes.


Sands! Parents… please take note if your child love to play in the sandpit, they are coming home with shoes which are filled with sand. It is very important to clear up the sand while the insole is out, dont just shaking out the sand. You wouldnt believe the amount of sand that is hidden beneath the insole. If the sand was left over a period of time; this would damage the interior of the shoes slowly, and causes bacterial and fungal skin infections.

So parent.. please take out the insoles and take some time to check the condition. Also; match them with their feet, if the feet are longer than the insole then it is time for shoe shopping.

Now check the outward appearance of the shoes

The most obvious way to identify whether it is time to change the shoes is through the appearance of the shoes. Has the shoes worn out? or are the cute little toes visible through the holes in the shoes? Least to forget; go ahead and take a look at the bottom of the shoes- are the thread still there?

By the way; if there is not thread on the shoes then the shoes are not doing what they are support to do, in fact it could cause more slipping and fallings. No matter how much your kids want to wear them, regardless of the brand of the shoes, they need to be replaced.

Believe it or not, shoes can change a child’s and your walking pattern. Therefore, it’s either to have a good supportive shoes or to have a shoes that requires your child feet health. Worn out shoes can actually cause overused muscles injuries in some cases.

Listen to their little Complaints

It is understandable sometime parents ignored our kids’ requests or complaints. However, it should be taken seriously when they are reporting pain while wearing a certain pair of shoes. When they refused to wear a pair of shoes, Not wanting to walk for long distances, tired of shopping etc. These might be due to pain which was resulted from over used injuries and wearing an unsupportive footwear.

Feet!!. monitor your child’s feet, check them out for any redness, swelling or infections. If in doubt, see a Podiatrist; a health professional who spends time study in details about feet and ankles.

What more does the research had to say

An orthopaedic surgeon,  Mr Espinosa once said this: “the most striking finding in our study was that more than 90 percent of both outdoor and indoor shoes/slippers worn by the children were too small.” One other literature review suggested that wearing small shoes can lead to improper positioning of the flex zone (where the cuts and folds follow the natural movements of the feet) and thereby causing harmful stress to the feet.

The impact of wearing small shoes – Foot deformities

Wearing small and narrow shoes can be an big problem. It can have a detrimental effect on children’s feet health. I am sure you are aware of bunions deformity; claws toes; flat foot IGTNs. I am not saying, wearing small shoes will have a direct causative factor of the foot deformities as per mentioned but it does contribute in exacerbating the deformity. Therefore, parents please change your kids’ shoes in time, perhaps you might be saving them from needing a surgery in the future for bunions and other foot deformitiess. As we all knew this rather well: ” prevention is better than a cure”.

Hallux Abductor Valgus/ Bunions

Hallux Abductor Valgus are also commonly known as bunions. It is a progressive genetic driven plus external factor driven foot deformity where the big toe begins to angled sideways toward the second toe. This can sometimes be painful, and might presented with just red nodules to start with. For kids, it can be aggrevated by wearing smaller and narrow shoes for their feet. For women/ ladies, it can be formed by wearing high heels shoes ( which greatly increases forefoot pessure hence exacerbating the condition) and/or narrow pointy shoes.

Ingrown toe nails

Ingrowing toenails are a condition where the nails; especially the big toenail are growing in the nail fold. It is painful and yet sometime presented with some nasty infections. Wearing tight shoes can also have a detrimental effect on how the child’s nail grow. In some cases, nail damages can occurs. This often results in increased thickness of the nails; layering of the nails; discolouration and bruising of the nail bed.

Not to forgets- as per mentions previously; sand in the shoes could also sometime gets into the sulcus and cause further irritations to the nail fold bringing infections and unwanted bugs.


To sum up, parents, it is not needed to further explain as to how picking/choosing and checking children’s foot wear is an important task to assist your little ones. Teach them about these pointers above; embraced them; so that they too, can do it themselves and pass on the message to their friends and families.

“Lets make the Shoes a better place for the children feet”: – Dr James Wong (Podiatrist)


Read more on what are the shoes are best for kids here


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6 thoughts on “The impact of wearing small shoes and worn-out shoes: Deformities and Problems!

  1. I don’t have kids but I checked my own shoes and…let’s just say my shoes and foot pain are not something im going to pass on to them anymore lol. Thanks for the warning! Now i’m gonna go buy some new shoes.

    1. Great!I think we are not suppose to live with pain, hope getting new shoes will help! Please buy the right shoes too 🙂

  2. great information I never check my shoes but this information had me checking all of them right now lol.

    1. Awesome! I hope not hundreds of shoes that you have checked. It is important to buy the right shoes too.

  3. My mom grew up in a poor household and she had to wear shoes that were too small and let me tell you, her toenails look terrible! After years of wearing shoes that were as much as 2 sizes too small, her toenails now grow curved, no matter how many pedicures she gets. 

    This deformity led her to sticking to closed-toe shoes, even though now she makes sure she wears shoes that are the correct size.

    Does someone who has naturally flat feet need to be concerned about deformed soles on their shoes? Or do they not have to change their shoes any more than anyone else since it’s just the normal shape of their foot? I have really flat feet but apparently my foot is flatter on the inner sole than the rest of my foot, so my shoes tend to go inward after I’ve had a pair of shoes for a while.

    1. I hope your mom does not have pain with the deformity. To answer your question, you should change your shoes once you notice the shoes shape has changed. Because shoes that goes inwards affect the way you walk. If you have really flat feet, you can consider wearing arch supported shoes :Top 3 Women Sandals for Flat Feet -Find the best for you or having an orthotics from a podiatrist; Orthotics Inserts/Insoles for flat feet, high arch feet, heel pain and bunions

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