Children’s foot problems can be ignored because they rarely present serious symptoms. Without proper treatment, they can trigger more serious problems. Parents and guardians have to pay attention to their children’s feet health though all the stages of development. It may be necessary to use foot orthotics if a child has emerging foot problems. They are externally-applied devices that improve poor foot mechanics. The following are a few ways to find out if your child needs orthotics.
Pay Attention to Their Shoes
Take note of your child’s shoes and their wear pattern. If there are asymmetrical wear patterns at the heels or the softer parts of the shoes, they may be an indication of biomechanical imbalances. They may cause muscular imbalances and injuries. In the long-term, structural imbalances can cause degenerative changes.
Study their normal paces and look out for any abnormalities. You can determine abnormal gait by examining the alignment of their lower leg with their foot as they walk.
If you have a history of foot problems in your family, your child may be at risk. They may require orthotics at some point. There are plenty of hereditary foot problems and Flat Feet is one of the most common ones. If you are aware of the problems in your family, get your kid assessed as soon as possible.
Stand in front of your child and observe their lower legs. Mentally create a straight line from the middle of both kneecaps to the feet. According to the team at align-clinic.com, our imaginary line should reach your feet over the first two toes. If you realize that the knees are pointing in or out when their feet are pointing straight ahead, they may have a problem.
Pain in Their Ankles and Feet
Pain is the most obvious sign that your child may need orthotics. If they express lack of an arch or constant pain in their feet and ankle, they may have Flat Feet. Flat-footed children may experience foot pain when wearing shoes because of their lack of arch.
If you realize that your child’s inner arch is not developing as it should, ask them to do a toe raise. When standing on their toes, they exert a lot of tension on the plantar fascia. If the foot becomes a convex or stays flat, your child may have a rigid flat foot.
If your child refrains from activities such as walking, playing, dancing, or running, it may be due to poor foot health. Flat Feet often makes it difficult to walk or move around. Their feet may start hurting after a few minutes of walking. Rule out any major injuries before you start looking for signs of Flat Feet. You can also have foot pain in arch as well.
Ankles Turned Inwards (Over Pronated Ankles)
If your child’s ankles are turned inwards too far, they may require orthotics. As you walk, your foot muscles and ankle work together to help you maintain stability. Your heel may pronate when some weight is placed on it. It unlocks into place to accommodate the weight and create balance. If your child has an over pronated heel, their ankle may be less stable.
Their lower bodies may be unable to absorb shockwaves from their movements. As a result, they may strain their knees, legs, back, or hips. Children with Flat Feet are likely to have over pronated ankles.
Check for Recurring Misalignments
- Older children with recurring misalignments probably have some instability starting in their feet. Correcting the problem may have a long-term impact on their health.
- Children may be eligible for wearing orthotics at 12 months. However, many of them do not need them until they are older. Keep an eye on them especially when they are two years or older. If they have not started walking by then, consider seeking the help of a podiatrist. Other milestones to consider include age three and age five. Most children start developing an adult heel-to-toe gait at age three and go to school at age five.
- If it is determined that your child needs orthotics, they can be fitted within a short time. The different types of orthotics include custom-made, mid-range, and off-the-shelf. After an assessment, your podiatrist will help you determine the best option and fit it within two weeks. Your child may need to go back for a follow-up assessment after a month. If you suspect that your child’s foot health is at risk, seek medical help as soon as possible.