At Hunter podiatry, WE LOVE KIDS!
Within our team, we advocate for FAMILY FIRST.
We also understand how important your kids’ feet are to their development. I’ll go over some of the main reasons the little ones come into our clinics and what you need to look out for as their family.
- FLAT FEET
- INTOEING (pigeon toed)
- TOE WALKING
Kids are born flexible. This is to help them fit in a tight womb, but also for resilience. As they begin to crawl and eventually walk, they will inevitably take a few tumbles and being flexible and soft helps protect them.
Because they are flexible, their feet often look flat and have no arch. In some cases, this is normal and should be carefully monitored with specific measurements as they grow.
For others, flattening of the arches can cause pain and negatively influence the way the legs work.
As they continue to grow and develop the position of their feet and legs can influence how they function. We often see children who are held back by the way their feet and legs work. They may be clumsy, unwilling to participate in activity and sport or even in PAIN.
A thorough assessment by a podiatrist can help determine whether your child’s flat feet are normal for their age or whether they would benefit from an orthotic into their shoe to help them function better.
Intoeing (pidgeon toed)
Intoeing is another common presentation in the boys and girls that present to Hunter Podiatry. Walking ‘pidgeon-toed’ can cause clumsiness and pain. It too can be a completely normal part of skeletal development, especially for the first born child as they are packed tightly in the womb.
Through assessment and questioning are important in determining where this intoeing comes from and how it should be managed.
Is it the hip joint? the position of the femur? A twist in the tibia? The foot?
If necessary, we can use kids orthotics to support the foot and control some of that rotation. We also can use ‘Gait plates’ that encourage the child to rotate out as the walk.
Toe walking is pretty self-explanatory, though we don’t know everything about it. Most commonly it is a habit that kids develop, which usually stops with time. In some cases it doesn’t and I’m sure you noticed adults who have a ‘bouncy’ gait and they still live a perfectly normal life!
Walking on your toes can cause problems in the way loads the foot, ankle, achilles and knee load. This can cause overuse injuries.
It is also well known to be associated with certain Neurological conditions and these will be considered by your podiatrist.
Most treatment is around monitoring and education, though in some cases we use orthotics or a stiff ‘Gait plate” to reduce children’s ability to get up on their toes.
Children’s bodies change at a rate of knots! What IS and ISN’T normal can be really hard to determine. Our role as podiatrist is to ensure your children develop into strong, healthy humans.
If there’s something just not right, clumsiness or pain then let us know.
- Unwillingness to participate in physical activity/sport
- Joint swelling, heat or redness
- fatigue, constant illness, poor sleep
- Clumsiness outside of what is normal
Honourable mention: Growing pains
Never dismiss your child’s consistent complaints as “growing pains.”
They may be signs of abnormal foot and leg problems. In most cases the earlier a child’s problem is diagnosed and treated the easier and more successful the treatment will be.
Their development can have a massive bearing on how they develop physically, but also how they participate in sport, how they understand pain and how they view their bodies. We don’t just treat their feet!