As a child grows and develops, it is normal for their feet and legs to go through considerable changes. From birth to about 10-years-old, the long arch of the foot is expected to transition from “flat footedness” to “normal”. It is during this slow and gradual process that a child may complain of pain or a caregiver may notice something doesn’t look quite right. It is the role of a Canadian Certified Pedorthist C. Ped (C) to assess and treat the child if necessary.
Some common signs that the child should be assessed by a C. Ped (C) include:
- Complaints of pain in the foot, ankle, leg, knee, hip and/or lower back (sometimes these complaints are most notable after sport/physical activity or at night time or first thing in the morning)
- The child withdraws from sport/physical activity due to pain
- There is a noticeable difference between one foot and the other (e.g., one long arch is lower than the other)
- The ankles appear to be rolling in or out when standing and/or walking
- There is excessive wear on the soles of the child’s shoes
- There has been a rapid and significant growth spurt
- When the child stands and walks the toes appear to be pointed inward or considerably outward
- Walking on the balls of the feet the majority of the time
- When there has been no change in the height of the long arch over time
- Any muscle, joint or neurological concerns
Treatment for the above concerns vary and are based on additional factors found during the assessment; such as the age of the child, the physical movement of joints, the child’s activity level, the type of sport or activity they participate in and the degree of past or current injuries. Treatment can be used to allow injury to heal or to prevent future problems from occurring.
The most common treatment recommendations include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) inserts
- Supportive footwear worn daily (indoor and outdoor use)
- Stretching and/or muscle specific exercises
- Custom made foot orthotics
A combination of two or more recommendations are often required.
A Canadian Certified Pedorthist is a trained professional that can help all ages. If your child is experiencing any signs or symptoms listed above, contact your local Pedorthist to determine if treatment is right for your child. In the end, our goal is to promote a proactive approach to better body mechanics that will allow children to play and grow optimally.
By Vanessa Raffa De Rita C. Ped (C) London, Ontario