The “price-tag” of foot health in infancy and early childhood: a cross sectional survey of UK parents

Lisa Hodgson, Molly Hodges, Anita Williams, Chris Nester, Stewart C. Morrison

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Children’s feet are complex structures and strategies for supporting good foot health throughout childhood can be challenging. Greater awareness of the contemporary factors influencing decisions, such as footwear purchases, is needed to inform health narratives which are more closely aligned to parents’ attitude and behaviours. The aim of this study was to explore parent’s knowledge of children’s foot health, understand the common foot health concerns and experiences with footcare services. A purposeful sampling approach was used to recruit parents of children aged 5 years and under. Participants completed a self-administered, online survey which consisted of 39 questions across six sections: (1) Participant demographics; (2) Developmental events (milestones such as crawling and walking); (3) Foot health concerns; (4) Developmental aids (products such as baby bouncers and baby walkers); (5) Footwear; and (6) Foot health information. Both adaptive and mandatory questions were used. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise closed-ended questions, and a summative content analysis was adopted to draw inferences from the text data. Two-hundred thirty-nine parents completed the survey, and this represented female participants (n = 213) aged between the ages 34–42 (n = 126) or 25–34 (n = 83) years of age. The survey generated responses from a wide geographical spread across the UK, but the majority of these were from the North West of England (n = 75) and South East of England (n = 46). Four main themes were drawn from the content analysis: (1) foot health concerns and seeking advice; (2) information and advice; (3) how parents support infant milestone events; and (4) footwear. Conclusion: This work provides insight into parents’ perspective on the broad topics of children’s foot health, identifying common experiences and concerns about their children’s foot health and the factors which influence decision making. Understanding more about these issues will help health professionals support parents during infancy and early years.What is Known:• Maintaining good foot health throughout childhood is important and many factors influence decision making.• There is little understanding about how parents care for their children feet and their understanding of good foot health practices and services.What is New:• Insight into the common factors which influence parents’ approaches to supporting early development and the typical concerns that parents encountered about their children’s overall foot health and footwear.• Identifies areas of children’s foot health for health professionals to target when developing information sources for parents.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1561-1570
    Number of pages10
    JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021

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    • Children's foot health
    • Health information
    • Children's footwear
    • health services
    • Parent behaviours
    • Health services
    • Children’s foot health
    • Children’s footwear


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