When children are started on orthotic therapy at the right time, most of the above mentioned problems can be treated effectively. The orthotics helps create a neutral arch profile that correctly aligns the ankle and knee positioning. This realignment of the bones and joints in lower extremity helps create a balanced posture for the child, leading to less strain on joints, preventing any foot, knee, or back pain. However, do remember that orthotics work just like eye-glasses. You only get the benefit when you wear the orthotics. If you don’t wear them, the foot and arch profile goes back to the original state.
Once your child is fitted for custom-made orthotics, it is important to revisit your Podiatrist/Chiropodist at least once a year to ensure the child has not grown out of the existing orthotics.
Kids’ feet have more soft tissue than bones, so their feet can easily fit into the wrong size of shoe. If the child is fitted into a smaller than required shoe size, it can lead to foot pain, ingrown toenails, bunions, etc. Whereas, a larger than required shoe size can cause the child to trip and fall, and result in calluses and toenail problems. When buying shoes for your children, Podiatrists generally recommend removing the shoe insole and getting your child to step on it. There should be at least one finger width of space from the longest toe to the end of the shoe insole.
So while it is perfectly fine to hand down your clothes, handing down shoes can give rise to foot problems, as a worn shoe may have already lost its support, cushion, and stability.
Foot problems in children can start as early as birth or develop soon after they start walking. It is crucial that any foot abnormality is identified early on, so it can be treated or prevented from getting worse.
Children’s feet are a lot different than adults. So the tips given to you by the Podiatrist/Chiropodist do not necessarily apply to your children. For instance, adults are usually advised not to walk barefoot at home to avoid increased pressure and strain from hard surfaces onto the muscles, bones and joints. However, this is not true for toddlers. In fact, parents should encourage toddlers to walk barefoot at home (provided surfaces are clean and hygienic), as that helps stimulate sensory information, preparing them for a balanced, co-ordinated, and stable posture.
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