Childrens bracing and orthotics. Picture Pixbay.
Childrens Orthotics should not be bought on a whim. Here are some other reasons:
1- Your child's foot should not be compared to others. Everyone develops differently and at different times.
2- Your child's foot is not usually broken or has a problem.
These are the two basic reasons why we have parents coming into our clinic with their child asking for orthotics. Comparisons between other children is inevitable but should never really be done, because you can not compare accurately one child against the other.
Parents usually ask about why a childs foot or leg is sore. Most of the time it is because the child is growing or they have over done exercising- they don't realize that you shouldn't run through pain.
We have to remember though that a childs foot is in development until they are 18 years old.
So any problems within this area can actually grow out.
Between 1-10 is the parent problem years. This is an area where parents become concerned about their children and they start showing up in the clinic asking for childrens orthotics.
What most parents do not realise is that an orthotic for a child in the early years in life is very difficult. For the main reason is that once the orthotic has been measured and created you only have about 2-6 months of use until you need a new one. The foot is growing rapidly and it usually out grows the orthotic quite quickly.
Unfortunately this then has an effect on the payment of the orthotic and treatment is usually stopped
In some circumstances an orthotic is needed, yes (but not limited to)
1- walking toes out
2- walking toes in
3- "club foot" after care
4- for conditions like Kohlers, Osgood Sclatters Disease.
5- When their foot pain is affecting their day to day activity
6- If there is a familial history of a biomechanical issue
7- flat feet past a proper age.
But these too can be minimised:
1- Trying not to put a baby in shoes when it is not walking- those feet need to be free to move and stretch
2- Using a door bouncer/ circular walker. These promote your child to tip-toe, it is very hard to stop them from doing it. If those feet are not flat to the floor initially then tip-toeing occurs
3- Not promoting walking or crawling which gives feet and muscles strength
4- Having childrens orthotics when they are not needed- this allows the foot to develop poorly.
Unfortunately the problems that exist within our feet, like bunions, clawing of the toes etc are not really to do with shoes or child hood upbringing They are caused by inherited issues- shoes accelerate the process and give secondary problems like corns and hard skin.
We have seen children who have had sore feet run around with very flat shoes (no sole, no lace) and their parents wonder why their child is getting issues with their feet.
Even if you do give shoe advice then you find that it is rarely taken up because the child doesn't want to wear something that their friends aren't.
One point to make. If stretching exercises are given as a treatment option, then do them together, or where the parent can see the child doing them. Asking a child to do them never works, because they don't do them, or they do them not as shown.
If you are concerned with your childs feet, then take a step back and think what could be causing this. If you are concerned then see a foot care specialist.