Joe Nimble



Children are designed to move, and their health depends on it [1]. Sadly, over 80% fail to meet the daily activity goals recommended by the World Health Organisation [2]. Record levels of childhood obesity and associated diseases are the consequence [3]. Increasing physical activity in school PE to tackle the crisis has only resulted in higher injury rates [4]. Dysfunctional feet are an overlooked source of the injuries and pain that can discourage an active lifestyle [5, 6]. Impaired toe function is common in children and leads to high plantar pressures during weight bearing [6]. High plantar pressures are uncomfortable and reliably predict childhood inactivity [7, 8, 9]. The vicious cycle of foot dysfunction, movement-related pain and inactivity must be attacked at the root. Toe dysfunction starts early and is caused by badly designed shoes at odds with the toe spread characteristic of children’s feet [6, 10]. Shoes that permit natural toe spread will maintain their function [10] allowing kids to enjoy a lifetime of pain-free movement and health.


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  1. Di Cesare M, Soric M, Bovet P, et al. The epidemiological burden of obesity in childhood: a worldwide epidemic requiring urgent action. BMC Med 2019; 17: 212. DOI: 10.1186/s12916-019-1449-8.
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  5. Stefan L, Kasovic M and Zvonar. Association between the levels of physical activity and plantar pressure in 6-14 year-old children. Peer J 2020; DOI 10.7717/peerj.8551.
  6. Riddiford-Harland DL, Steele JR, Cliff DP et al. Lower activity levels are related to higher plantar pressures in overweight children. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2015; 47: 357-362.
  7. Mickle KJ, Cliff DP, Munro BJ, Okley AD, Steele JR. Relationship between plantar pressures, physical activity and sedentariness among preschool children. J Sci Med Sport 2011; 14: 36-41.
  8. Walther M, Herold D, Sinderhauf A, Morrison R. Children sport shoes – A systematic review of current literature. Foot Ankle Surg 2008; 14: 180-189.
Tags: Zehenfreiheit, Toefreedom, Kinderschuhe