By Shannon White (BAHSc. CAT (c) Certified Athletic Therapist)
Every parent’s number one job is to ensure the health and wellbeing of their child. This can sometimes be difficult when dealing with health care issues that aren’t common knowledge. A baby’s first steps usually occur between 9 and 12 months of age. But how do we know they’re walking correctly and with proper bone structure and support?
There are a few issues that can develop during childhood that parents can watch for: flexible flat foot, in-toeing, and toe walking.
Flexible flat foot is common in children up to 5 years old, is usually only seen when the child is weight bearing and doesn’t often cause pain. If the flatness persists after age 5 or causes discomfort, orthotics could be considered as a treatment option.
In-toeing can cause kids to trip over their own feet and could be attributed to their sitting position (see picture). Parental reminders about sitting and walking with toes straight are sometimes enough to correct the issue.
Toe walking is often caused by tight hamstrings and calves, is typically outgrown and can also be helped with gentle reminders to walk “heel-to-toe”.
Good footwear for children can be expensive when they seem to outgrow shoes in a month or two. However, shoes with good cushion and support can help maintain the foot structure and aid in walking. Proper fit is just as important as the structure, there should be at least a thumb width from the end of your child’s longest toe to the end of the shoe. This will ensure room for growth and room for movement within the shoe. It’s also essential that the shoe fits the activity, for example wearing quality running shoes when going for a family walk.
Custom orthotics are an option for children but not usually incorporated into treatment until after the age of 6. In general if your child is not complaining of pain many small issues will work themselves out over time.
Visit us at www.miltonOrthoticWellness.com