Orthotics For Children With Foot And Leg Discomfort
Healthy children need to be able to run and play. If those children are experiencing foot or leg pain, they may feel tethered to the couch. Children who complain about discomfort may benefit from using orthotic devices found right here in Tucson. Every child is different, and a thorough examination performed by your child’s pediatrician will provide you with the answers you need.
When Foot Pain In Children Becomes Cause For Concern
All children are born with flat feet. Babies can’t walk, and often fumble when first learning to walk. Toddlers often bobble and bounce because the feet are still developing and the arches have not yet become prevalent. By preschool or kindergarten, the arch of a child’s foot should be developed. Children should be able to gracefully walk or run without falling or experiencing leg and foot discomfort by age four or five.
If a child is still experiencing difficulty walking or running by age four or five and no relevant medical condition exists, the child may be flat footed. If flat footedness has not yet been discovered by your child’s pediatrician, you may want to schedule an appointment. You can pre-check your child’s feet at home to determine any cause for concern.
Checking Your Child’s Feet At Home
Flat footed children often show signs of overpronation. Overpronation is when the ankle and foot change alignment to overcompensate for flat feet. Overpronation is easy to spot. It won’t take a pediatrician more than a few moments to recognize significant overpronation.
Before you schedule your child’s appointment, you can perform a preliminary check. Have your child remove his or her shoes and socks and stand barefoot on a flat surface. Use any straight object (like a ruler or even a drinking straw) as a measuring tool. Align the object with your child’s ankle bone and hold it straight to the floor. A significant gap between the foot and the object suggests overpronation. A normal, healthy foot will not leave much (or any) space between the object and the bottom of the foot.
Working With Your Child’s Pediatrician
If your child’s pediatrician comes to the conclusion that your child has flat feet or low arches, early intervention may be necessary. If left untreated, foot deformities or defects can lead to chronic lower body pain. Children with untreated flat feet often develop back pain early in life, sometimes as soon as their teenage years. Sever’s disease (a type of chronic heel pain) is also a common complaint.
Your child’s pediatrician will recommend a style of orthotic specifically designed to reduce or relieve the pain your child experiences by correcting the flat foot or overpronation. No two children are exactly the same, so your pediatrician will need to work with an orthotist to create a perfect solution.
Developing And Maintaining A Custom Solution
Most prefabricated orthotics on the market are for adults. Even if general fit orthotic manufacturers made a whole host of prefabricated solutions for children, it would be unwise to use them. Since improperly treated foot and ankle problems with children can lead to complications later in life, it’s best to address the problem with a custom orthotic solution.
Custom solutions begin with a scan or cast of the child’s foot to map the extent of the overpronation or flat feet. A special device is made to provide tailored support exactly where the child needs it. The end result should be an orthotic with no gap between the foot and the device. If a gap exists, the device will need to be modified.
Since children grow at a rapid rate, they’ll need to regularly visit with their pediatrician and orthotist for modifications and updates to their orthotic devices. Your child may need a new device before he or she has even gone up a shoe size. Regularly speak with your child about the comfort of his or her orthotics, and as soon as they begin to outgrow their current set, schedule a new appointment. This will prevent disruptions in support that may cause discomfort for your child.
Shoes For Children With Orthotics
While Velcro shoes are often easier for younger children, they aren’t ideal for children who need to wear orthotics. Shoes with laces are slightly more accommodating, as the orthotic will occupy a significant amount of space in the shoe.
The shoe you choose for your child must have a removable insole. If the insole is affixed tightly to the inside of the shoe, the orthotic device will not fit. Attempting to place an orthotic inside of a shoe with a fixed insole will be uncomfortable and cause the child to raise too high within the shoe. It must have a firm, supportive ankle and superior traction to keep your child safe and secure with the orthotic devices inserted.
Finding The Right Orthotics Provider
If your child is in need of a custom orthotic in Tucson, we can help you. After speaking with your child’s pediatrician, contact us to explore custom solutions to ease your child’s ankle, leg, and foot pain.