Contrary to what some might think, orthotics are not just for grandparents. They are useful devices for people with diabetes and arthritis and in supporting foot wound care; but orthotics aren’t just for old people. Orthotics can help people of all ages – even children!
As children grow, many will experience minor leg aches and some soreness. This is considered “growing pains”, a normal part of childhood and oftentimes does not seem to faze the child, parent or physician. However, some children experience true pain. Often after a day of high activity, a child may experience sharp, nagging and/or deep pain in the shins, calves and/or thighs. This pain often presents itself at night. Children wake up from sleep or have difficulty falling asleep, crying because of the pain. Parents are then left to console their child with leg rubs, hot packs and pain medication. By morning, the child often feels better, but in some cases, they feel stiff until they get moving.
A thorough examination provided by a Canadian Certified Pedorthist is required to best address the needs of the child. Foot orthotics are considered especially when there is a biomechanical issue, such as over pronation. The excessive inward rotation of the foot causes increased stress on the muscles of the leg, which in turn fatigues the growing muscles and results in pain, often at rest. Often in my practice I will create a thin, half-length orthotic, which can be worn in most footwear, to help stabilize the foot, improve alignment and alleviate the pain.
A stretching regimen or Registered Massage Therapy is also recommended to encourage gentle lengthening of the muscles and surrounding tissues.
Check out https://www.pedorthic.ca/children for more information about foot and lower limb conditions affecting children – and some Pedorthic Pointers to help alleviate pain.
Stay tuned next week for more blogs about how orthotics can help Athletes and Workers too!
Submitted by: Vanessa Raffa De Rita, C. Ped. (C) London, ON