Parents want the best for their children but often, one important aspect in their growing up years is overlooked: their feet.
This case is especially true in the Philippines according to children’s footwear company, Dr. Kong. According to the brand’s founder and developer Professor Raymond Ng Kwan Ying, BSc. (Hons) Prosthetics and Orthotics, he saw this first hand when he did volunteer work at the Philippine General Hospital in the 1990s.
Ng Kwan Ying recounted that and even pediatricians give little attention children’s foot problems, which can easily be addressed by suitable shoe types. The end results are conditions such as flatfoot and rear foot valgus, which usually cause imbalance or discomfort in walking.
Years after his volunteer work in Manila, and shortly after he established Dr. Kong in Hong Kong, Ng Kwan Ying thanked his lucky stars that a Filipino-Chinese businessman by the name of Mike Sy approached him with the idea of bringing his brand to Manila.
Sy, whose son had a difficult time learning to walk in his toddler years, shared his testimonial with Ng Kwan Ying, that his son took his first steady steps when he and his wife bought him a pair of Dr. Kongs.
“We brought my son to the pediatrician and even he was impressed with how the shoes’ specialized insoles helped my son walk properly,” Sy shared with The Manila Times.
With Sy’s enthusiasm in joining Dr. Kong’s mission to help children develop healthy feet, his company Wellness Retail Innovations (WRI) Inc. was awarded exclusive distribution rights to the product in the Philippines.
“Mike and I have the same philosophy,” declared Ng Kwan Ying at Dr. Kong’s relaunch this week at Guevarra’s restaurant in San Juan. “That this is not just a business but [something that]will help the next generation develop in a healthy manner.
Before setting up shop in Hong Kong, Dr. Kong conducted a survey to investigate parents’ awareness and concern levels on foot health. Questionnaires were used to interview 1,700 parents whose children ranged from four to 14 years of age.
Alarmingly, the survey results indicated that that over 60 percent of school children have foot problems. More specifically, 70 percent are flatfooted while 30 percent have rearfoot valgus.
Despite experiencing difficulty in walking, nearly 40 percent of school children were ignorant of these foot problems, while 70 percent of parents had insufficient knowledge in flatfoot and rearfoot valgus.
Moreover, the survey showed that over 70 percent of parents expressed great concern for the foot health of their children, but only 35 percent had brought their children to doctors for a foot check up.
“Parents in general don’t know how to take care of their children’s feet. But really, it’s simple: wear insoles and exercise. This became our mission at Dr. Kong,” Ng Kwan Ying explained.
‘Check and Fit’
As in all Dr. Kong Healthy Shoes Shops in different parts of Asia, Manila’s branches will be the brand’s innovative “Check and Fit” foot examination for children and adults alike. This is an insole fitting service, which is a free and professional assessment of the foot with the use of pedometer.
After the process, the most suitable foot care product will be recommended according to the condition of one’s feet.
“This is especially important as the school year begins so we can make sure our children go through their day in school as comfortably as possible,” added Sy. “We’ve actually set up booths in Xavier School and Poveda to help direct parents’ attention to possible foot conditions in their children.”
Dr. Kong Comfort and Healthy Shoes is available in the Philippines at the following branches: 3rd Level, The Gallery of Robinson Galleria, 2nd Level Robinsons Magnolia, 3rd Robinsons Place Manila, GF Sekai Center Building Greenhills, San Juan and 3rd Level SM Aura Premiere.