When it comes to your child’s feet, it may be something you think about a lot, or not at all. Some children may have obvious foot problems, such as severe flat feet, walking on their tip toes, or toes that turn in and cause tripping. Other children may have more subtle issues such as “growing pains”, or knee, hip, or back pain that you just can’t find an answer to.
Your child’s feet are important, and regardless of the severity of the symptoms, addressing issues early can prevent pain, deformity, and surgery later in life.
Did you know that your foot type is hereditary? Foot issues that you experience as an adult, such as heel pain, bunions, and hammertoes can be passed down to your little ones, or possibly prevented with early intervention.
The following are some answers to common questions and concerns that we often hear regarding children’s feet.
Is it normal for my child to have flat feet?
It is normal for children to have a decreased arch up until about age 4 or 5. After that if your child still shows a severely decrease arch they should be treated. More subtle cues such as a family history of flat foot or a child that gets tired easily when playing sports, is clumsy, or has poor posture may benefit from seeing a podiatrist sooner than later.
Are growing pains normal?
It’s true that many children will experience some pain or soreness in their legs, thighs, or knees after a large growth spurt, but growing pains do not usually occur in the foot. Also, if any pain up the leg is excessive or causes the child to be sedentary and avoid physical activity, which is a cause for concern. A flat foot, or even a high arch, can cause a child to be walking on a poor unstable foundation which can cause poor alignment and pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hip, or back.
Will my child outgrow flat feet?
This depends on many things, the most important factor being genetics. Flat feet and resultant foot pathology can be passed down to your children just like your eye color. If mom, dad, and grandma have flat feet, it may be wise to intervene early with a device called an orthotic to prevent future foot problems.
What is an orthotic?
Shoe inserts, or Orthotics, are a simple way to provide your child with a better foundation to walk on. A podiatrist is experienced in fitting and adjustment of orthotic devices, and may be able to correct many different issues in your child’s growing feet. Even knee, hip, or back pain, or so called “growing pains” can be eliminated by correcting your child’s feet. Many people imagine cumbersome leg and foot braces when they hear the word orthotics, but be reassured that they have come a long way over the years, and most fit snugly into your child’s current shoes, and no one even knows they have them on. Like eye glasses, or braces for your teeth, orthotics help correct a very important part of your child’s body that will be supporting them throughout their entire life. Take care of those feet now and avoid pain later!
If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s growing feet, we are here to help you! At Toe-Tal Foot & Ankle Care, we have extensive training in pediatric foot and ankle deformities and we would love to help your child avoid foot pain.
Call today to make your appointment with our experienced pediatric foot and ankle doctors.
Written by Dr. Shannon Cairns
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