This is a question that I get asked continually in my clinic. Understandably, parents want the best for their children and want to make sure that their feet are healthy and well aligned.
Firstly, we need to discuss what is a normal foot for a child.
What is a Normal for a child’s foot?
Children’s feet differ to adults’ feet in several ways. Babies and toddler’s feet are soft and pliable because the bones have not yet completely formed.
- Flat feet are common in children, but necessarily a problem. Arch development will likely stabilise by the age of 6 or 7 years of age.
- Toddler’s can walk either in-toes (with their toes pointing inwards) or out-toes (with their toes pointing outwards) till around 2 years old.
- Knock knees are normal till the age of 2 – 7.
What is not normal:
- Children walking on their toes can just be a phase, but the Australian Podiatry Council says it is “not normal” and recommends a review by a Podiatrist
- If flat feet are causing pain or affecting your child’s walking or other activities.
- If your child has in-toeing or out-toeing feet.
- If your child has bow-legs or knock knees beyond the age of 2 and cause the feet to roll in (pronate) and become painful.
- If your child has frequent tripping or falling.
- If your child is withdrawing from sport and recreational activities
- If your child is lagging behind other children during sport and play.
- Family history of foot issues
Orthotics: What are they and does my child need them?
Orthotics are a device that helps to reduce excessive and destructive forces within the foot. These forces can be from within the foot or translate from the leg to cause the excessive movement within the foot. Because a child has more pliable bones and lax ligaments it is harder for the body to support itself. Orthotics are a great way to minimise these forces and support the foot but not every child requires an orthotic.
At ProMed Podiatry, we take a holistic approach to assessing your child’s foot health. Muscle strength, flexibility and balance are taken into consideration and we normally provide a home therapy program to address these areas. If orthotics are prescribed they may only be required for a few years until the ligaments become firmer and can support the foot. Footwear also plays a very important role in supporting the foot. A footwear assessment and advice is provided as part of our assessment.
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s feet, walking, footwear or general foot health now is the time to seek advice. Our team is here to support you and your family’s foot health. Please call our friendly admin team on 07 5522 1230 to make your appointment now.