When children start to walk it’s natural for them to be a bit wobbly. Feet are soft and supple in the early years as bones are still forming, so their posture and gait aren’t going to be perfect at first.
Flat feet and knock knees are common in the early years and usually right themselves at ages six or seven. Walking with toes turned in or out is also par for the course and this tends to normalise at two years.
Sometimes these issues don’t settle down as they should. This leads to further problems if ignored but fortunately, orthotics can be a great help.
If you notice any of the following, it’s time to talk to your podiatrist.
Problems with Movement
If your child is constantly falling or tripping this can indicate underlying issues. They may also struggle with coordination when walking or running and they might drag their feet.
Stiffness in the foot or ankle, limping or favouring one leg more than the other are all signs that things aren’t quite right.
Early Issues Persist
If your child is older than four years and still has knock knees or bow-legs these issues need to be addressed. If left, their feet will start to roll in when they walk (pronate) and this leads to pain and poor posture.
It also places unnatural pressure on their toes, which can cause a bunion to form (a lump at the base of the big toe). This creates more discomfort and instability.
Keep an eye out for any other toe abnormalities or ingrown toenails. Unfortunately, these can occur at an early age. The latter can be very painful and become infected, so early treatment is essential.
Check the Arches
Problems with arches lead to flat feet. You should be able to get your finger underneath the arches. If this isn’t possible then they aren’t forming correctly. This causes the feet to pronate (rotate inwards) and leads the child to walk on the inside of the feet.
This leaves their body weight unevenly distributed. If uncorrected it creates problems with posture and gait, as it forces the hips and legs out of alignment.
Family Foot Problems
Some foot issues can be hereditary. If anyone in the family sufferers from flat feet, arthritis or ingrown toenails, it’s a good idea to have your child checked for these conditions.
Pain in the Lower Limbs
All these issues can result in persistent pain in the legs, knees, ankles and feet. Kids are usually keen to charge about during these early years. If they are reluctant to play or lag behind when they do, this may indicate underlying problems.
How Orthotics Can Help
Orthotics are insoles which fit inside your shoes. They provide extra support and cushioning to alleviate pain and pressure. By supporting toes, feet and ankles in their proper positions they also help to correct postural alignment.
Toddlers shouldn’t need orthotics as early issues often right themselves. At five years children should start to develop a more adult style of walking from heel to toe. If this isn’t happening or you notice any of the problems mentioned, contact us now.
Orthotics can be custom-made to give exactly the right support, although this may not be necessary depending on the situation. Over-the-counter insoles are also available, as appropriate.
Support for all the Family at Feet By Pody
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