Children and the growing foot

 

Growth, development and safety

The developing foot has very special needs and we believe every child’s foot can benefit from a podiatrists screening.  We advise all parents to read and consider the following details below:

 Children’s feet should not hurt!

Pain is not normal. Complaints of long term pain, means there could be an underlying issue that needs be addressed. Look out for following signs;

Sitting on the floor in public places, tip toe walking, tired aching feet, tired legs, heel pain and arch pain, flat footedness, in-toeing, stumbling, co-ordination issues, poor posture, lack of confidence in sport, unwillingness to perform sports, a family history of foot pain or deformity.  If your child has any of the above symptoms we may recommend a joint podiatry appointment with a physiotherapist/Chiropractor if we detect any of the above.

 Footwear and foot function are vitally important.

The right footwear is paramount to assisting good foot development and comfort.

If a child is complaining of pain or fatigue, we often expect them will grow out of it.  However, this is not always the case, especially if the child has a flexible foot type.

If left uncorrected by exercises, footwear or orthotics, it may lead to a flatter foot profile,  shin- splints, and in some cases joint deformity requiring corrective surgery in adult life.  Due to the many complications which can occur from improper foot function, we believe that screening children’s feet and providing simple, good foot health education and footwear advice may prevent surgery, injury, discomfort and disability later in life.

The foundation of our body is our foot,  if we do not use the lower leg properly it will most likely have an impact on the rest of our body.  We may recommend simple exercises and will refer to the appropriate medical practitioner if gait, posture and muscle abnormalities are detected.

We should take a very special interest in the developing foot.

Remarkably, we rarely see children’s feet in clinic relative to the population number because generally, people are not having their children’s foot type screened by Podiatrists.  It’s worth remembering the foundations we make for the youth will affect them later in life. The child’s foot goes through stages of maturity, from a soft adaptable structure at a young age to a stronger structure as he or she matures. It is important that the child at the very least wears the right type of footwear through each stage of development.

 

Should children wear orthotics?

We would take each case independently.  We must remember what an orthotic is for? [please refer to our dedicated orthotics page for further reading]. Orthotics can be used as a training aid to assist in educating the foot to take on good postural positioning or the orthotic can provide true stability for a foot that is not capable of adequately supporting itself.

We believe that educating the parents and the children on good foot health practices can be vitally important in preventing problems in the long term.  It is worth remembering, a sloppy, poorly supported shoe may lead to long term damage of the foot.  Good education may prevent this.  It is worth thinking about.

 Our treatment programme:

  • Education but no treatment
  • Footwear advice
  • Exercises, gait and posture advice [  training walking and efficient use of body ]
  • Stretching
  • Orthotic and arch support advice [ in managing the foot and ankle joints  function and how the foot relates to the ground].
  • Referral to specialist

We have prepared a further reading list which may assist understanding and education.

 

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