Sometimes your child may complain of symptoms such as “tired legs” or “painful heels” but other times they may not complain at all but would benefit from treatment by a podiatrist. They may be frequently tripping over, or struggling to keep up with their friends, issues which may or may not be communicated to a parent. Your child may simply be “used to it” and not realise these may be problems which can be addressed.
Listen/look out for things such as:
As podiatrists experienced in treating children, we have thorough knowledge of the developmental milestones your child should be reaching and when (with respect to gait and lower limb biomechanics). We also understand that abnormal foot biomechanics can play a large part in symptoms children experience whilst trying to lead their active lives.
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to have your child assessed by a podiatrist at certain age/developmental milestones, to ensure they are developing in line with how they should be. Age 3 is a good time to start (unless problems arise sooner) as most children will have developed a heel-to-toe gait by then and any issues such as in-toeing, incorrect sleeping/sitting positions and footwear limitations can be addressed.
By age 5-6yrs, their foot biomechanics have matured and adapted to how they will remain for some time, so this is a really good time to assess them for any lower limb abnormalities, particularly as they start to engage in more organised and physically demanding sports.
Depending on the severity of the abnormality and your child’s symptoms, they may require orthotics. Orthotics are devices that are inserted into shoes to address abnormal foot biomechanics, subsequently reducing the stresses & strains on associated joints and soft tissue structures. They can be pre-fabricated or custom made, depending on your child’s requirements.
In my professional experience, parents with children in need of orthotics have expressed concern about the child’s compliance with wearing them…”I struggle to get them to brush their teeth, how am I going to convince them to wear these orthotics in their shoes every day?” Being a mother of two young children myself, I understand this concern and my answer is always this… "YOU WON’T HAVE TO!" When a child has a foot type which would benefit from an orthotic and the orthotics are placed in their shoes, they are generally very well tolerated and before too long, they do not even notice they are in their shoes, in fact, remove them and your child will be reminding you to put them back!
Their footwear is also assessed to ensure your child is ready to get back to their busy and active lives!
Danielle Champion B.Pod