Matt Wettstein, DPM
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Experienced podiatrist specializing in all foot care including wound care and sports medicine in Twin Falls.

Hopefully you don’t have trouble getting your child out of bed in the morning. And if so, a motivating reason to get moving might just provide a big boost to their day!

Advanced Foot and Ankle is proud to be a sponsor of the Morning Mile at Rock Creek Elementary School. The program will start on April 8 and provide many students something extra to look forward to each day.

What is the Morning Mile?

The Morning Mile is about as simple as you might expect. It provides every student an opportunity each morning to run, walk, and generally exercise before the school day.

And when Morning Mile says “every student,” they mean it! There are no sign-ups and no pre-requisites that a student must meet in order to participate. The Morning Mile is open to every child, every day, and participation rates at most schools have ranged from 65-97 percent of the student body.

We know what you might be thinking: this sounds good on paper, but making kids run a mile every day is not going to result in lasting participation. Usually we can’t even get kids to commit to matching socks every day!

Fortunately, the Morning Mile is a mile in name only. Students do not have to run a mile. They are more than welcome to do so if they wish, but they can also walk or perform activities at their own pace.

The most important element is that kids get a chance to move before the school day starts. Not only is it good for their physical well-being, but having a chance to blow off some steam can make many kids much more settled down and attentive for learning throughout the day.

boys running on track | Twin Falls Experienced Children's Podiatrist

Although distance milestones might be celebrated along the way, Morning Mile is in no way a “running club.” The term “club” in itself lends an air of exclusivity that doesn’t match the mission statement here, plus it implies that everyone has to run. “Moving Around Club” also doesn’t seem as appealing an alternative.

We are not looking for commitment, but instead providing opportunity. If kids arrive to school while the Morning Mile is going on, or have to eat breakfast first, they can hop right in as soon as they are able. Parents and guardians might even be able to join in, too!

Why We Are Sponsoring

Obviously, we are all for kids growing up with strong, healthy feet and ankles—and physical activity is an important part of this goal!

Running, walking, and other physical activities help growing bodies develop more soundly and securely. Muscles become stronger and more enduring, but so do the soft tissues that surround and support our joints. Even our bones become stronger when we exercise.

All of this conditioning complements itself and provides more stability overall in our feet and ankles. Sprains become less likely to happen, and the effects can be less sidelining when they do. Risks of heel pain can also reduce thanks to a stronger Achilles tendon and well-conditioned bones.

We can’t say that running a mile every day will make your child’s feet invincible, but the overall benefits in the long run can be substantial!

And setting podiatry aside (we’re allowed to now and then!), running is also great for the heart and lungs. But the benefits are not only physical. Stress reduction is also a great benefit of running, and feeling the improvement that comes with faster times and better performance can be a great boost to self-confidence as well.

Tips for Kids on the Move

Although running comes with a high recommendation in our office, it is always best to take a few simple measures to reduce risks of sports injuries during activity.

The more protection, support, and comfort a child has when active, the happier they—and you—will be! Here are a few pieces of advice that will work just as well for you as they will for your children.

  • Have shoes ready for the job. We are not asking you to buy specialized running shoes for your kids to run about in before school (although those would be ideal if your child is an active runner outside of the Morning Mile, too). However, the shoes your child uses should have enough support and flexibility for running.

    What does this mean? For one, your child should not be running in boots. If they need boots for the journey in, make sure they have good shoes to change into when they arrive at the school. Also check your child’s shoes to make sure they are not worn out or have not been outgrown. Both of these situations can lead to discomfort while running and increase the chances of problems such as heel pain and blisters.

children's running shoe | Twin Falls Experienced Children's Podiatrist

  • Encourage stretching. While kids often seem to go from 0-60 without much trouble at all, encouraging a quick warm-up before running will help prepare the body for activity and reduce the risk of overuse injuries. It’s a great habit to develop early on, and only becomes increasingly important as we grow up. Please also be sure that your children are using proper running form when moving as well.
  • Keep track of your child’s feet and complaints. Even when all other precautions are followed, a child’s arches or foot structure can still make them more likely to experience pain during activity. If your child has such problems, or you notice they have flat feet, give us a call. We can help you determine what the root of any potential problem is and recommend treatments such as strengthening exercises or custom orthotics to make physical activity much more comfortable.

We can’t wait for the Morning Mile to begin, and hope it’s something your children will come to enjoy, too.

If you have questions about your child’s foot care, or a problem has arisen that needs an expert’s evaluation, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (208) 731-6321. We have offices in Twin Falls and Burley that are ready to help!

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