Parents worry about their children and want to make sure everything is okay. We are commonly asked about children’s development and what is normal. Parents want to make sure their children’s feet are growing with the correct alignment and not causing any developmental issues.

What kind of conditions in children might require orthotics?
– Flat feet that are causing pain or walking issues
– High arches under the age of 5
– Walking on their toes
– If your child is walking with their toes pointing inwards or outwards
– ‘Knock knees’ (genu valgum) or ‘bow legs’ (genu varum) causing gait issues
– Constantly tripping or falling over
– Pain is causing your child to stop engaging in activity
– Your child cannot keep up with other children their age during sports
– Family history or siblings that have foot issues
– ‘Growing pains’ at night
– Tired legs after short walking distances
– Sudden changes to walking style or an unusual walking style
– Hypermobility
– Asymmetry between legs
– Uneven wear on their shoes

What is normal development in children’s feet?
Children’s feet are very different to adult’s feet. Did you know that some of the bones in children’s feet don’t fuse together until well into puberty? Some things that are normal for children include:
– Flat feet – Children’s arch development and stabilisation occurs around the age of 6. If it is causing pain, limping, or is only on one foot then it is not normal.
– It is normal for a child under age 3 to spend some time on their toes but they should not be walking on their toes all the time.
– Walking with toes pointing inwards (in-toeing), or toes pointing outwards (out-toeing). Children should stop around age 2.
– Knock knees should resolve between the ages of 2 and 7.
Of course, if any of these conditions are causing pain in your children, or are only on one side, then it is not normal and should be assessed by a podiatrist.

What are orthotics and how will they help?
Orthotics are a custom made device that you can wear in your shoes to correct a variety of conditions. They work by reducing excessive movement and altering the forces in your feet. This can then help to correct conditions further up the leg and reduce the forces on the joints, ligaments, and muscles.
Children are typically a lot more flexible and pliable than adults so they can have trouble supporting themselves. Children are also developing muscle strength and gross motor skills throughout childhood and can struggle with certain activities or movements. Orthotics can help provide the support they need.

At ProMed Podiatry children are assessed holistically. Balance, pain, muscle strength, developmental stages, and coordination are all considered to ensure we understand the full scope of your child’s lower limb health.
Orthotics are one option we offer to help children. At ProMed we also typically provide a home therapy program and education to ensure you and your child are receiving the best results possible. Orthotics may only be used for a few years until your child has developed and their muscles and ligaments have stabilised.
Footwear is also a very important factor for children. Our podiatrists will conduct a footwear assessment and provide advice on the best shoes for your child’s foot type and condition.
If you have noticed a difference in your child, or they have pain, please call our friendly team on 07 5522 1230 or click here to make an appointment with one of our friendly podiatrists.

Kesia Ryan

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