Great Foundations will do the following:
- Research parental, health professional and industry knowledge and beliefs, related to children’s foot health
- Research how babies feet grow and develop as they move from birth to being able to stand and walk independently
- Produce evidence based advice and guidelines to support parents, health professionals and industry make better foot health decisions
Feet are really important to how children learn to stand and walk and explore their physical and social environment.
We want to offer them the best possible way to do this, but do we know enough about baby’s and children’s feet? What is normal foot shape? What to do about our babies first shoes? When to start using shoes? And what about baby walkers or using socks?
Some of these questions lead to lots of myths and gossip about children’s foot health, and parents can receive confusing or conflicting advice.
For health professionals such as Health Visitors, GP’s, Podiatrists and Physiotherapists there is similarly a lack of good quality evidence to guide some aspects of their advice and practice. For example, do we really know how feet should normally develop? This can make it difficult to offer detailed clinical advice about when the foot is not developing correctly, or even what footwear to use.
Whether we know it or not, everyday we make foot health choices just by deciding which socks to wear, which shoes to purchase, and we do this for our children from the day they’re born. Producers of products designed for feet are therefore very important in determining our foot health. They too want to understand feet and what makes for good foot health habits and good foot health products.
Why are we doing this?
As clinicians, researchers (and parents!) we are passionate about foot health and the complexities of learning to walk. Within our work we strive to explore the basis of independent movement and understand parent’s beliefs around this life changing milestone.
Dr Stewart Morrison, University of Brighton, explains the importance of our work for children’s foot health, ‘There are some fundamental gaps in our understanding of where parents get their knowledge on foot health, what concerns them, and how health professionals might provide appropriate support. This is very timely because of the increasing emphasis on prevention rather than cure of diseases in adulthood. Getting evidence based public foot health messages to parents should be a great way to prevent future problems’
We are looking for parents, health professionals and members of industry related to children’s foot products who want to get involved with Great Foundations. Getting involved means that you would be able to take part in some exciting research.
There are two ways we can work together:
- You could take part in focus groups or interviews so we can hear your views and experiences related to children’s foot health and development of walking.
- If you have a child under 6 months of age and not yet able to walk, you could help us to research how feet change as walking develops.