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Your child’s feet will on average, be carrying their body weight for the next seventy plus years. We commonly concern ourselves mainly with the child’s eyesight, teeth and inoculations, but how much time do we really take to understand our child’s developing feet? What do we know about what is the correct footwear for our particular child’s foot type?
Ask yourself the following questions:
Children with particular foot ailments like over pronation or flat feet are the foot, knee and back pain sufferers of the future. Paying close attention to your child’s feet can help prevent pain and discomfort in adult life.
Flat Feet in Children
A common complaint we see is the flexible flat foot in young children, this is commonly painless but can cause aches in the feet and legs, especially in older or over weight children. Most children have a fatty pad under the foot which can give the parent the impression that the child is flat footed, which might not be the case. If the child still looks flat footed by the age of four, it’s advisable to seek advise from your doctor or podiatrist. Medical grade child orthotics can greatly improve the comfort for the child with the added benefit of correcting the feet, in most cases permanently.
The Over Pronated Child
Over pronation is when the child’s feet tend to roll inward at the ankle. Feet are designed to roll (pronate) to a degree, this is natures way to allow for un-even ground surfaces when we walk, but some children over pronate leading to excessive stresses on the ankle and knees. As with flat feet, medical grade orthotics greatly help correct this condition.
The Growing Years As a child's feet grow and develop, it’s important to regularly check the child’s footwear, it’s also a good practice to look how the child is walking. In this day and age, even children are ”brand conscious”, it’s been known, a child having outgrown their favorite “in brand” sports shoes, but still wants to wear them. This result in the child’s gait cycle (walking style) being impaired and certain toe ailments developing, like hammer toes, injured toe nails and high arched feet. Sometimes, it may be necessary to change shoe size every three months or so to allow room for natural growth. Foot problems are the result of either ill fitting shoes, inherited (genetic), injury or deformity caused by illness.
Our children are encouraged to participate in team sports and sometimes individual sports; children play sport outside school in clubs or just with their friends. It’s very important that we make sure that the child is wearing the correct footwear for the type of sports they are doing, as many foot and knee injuries to children are the result of ill fitting or improper footwear. It’s advisable to see a sports trainer if you’re not sure what is the best footwear for your child’s particular sports interest.
Tips and Questions for Moms & Dads
Look into suspected problems as early as possible. Do not wait to see if the suspected problem will go away by itself, chances are it won’t. Remember, just because your child is not complaining it doesn’t mean that there’s not a problem. Children’s feet are so flexible; a preventable future problem could be developing.
Does your child complain of aches and pains? Remember, not all aches and pains are necessarily associated with growing pains.
If your not sure or have a concern or would just like to have peace of mind, have your child’s feet checked by a professional.
Because your child's feet are growing very quickly, it is very important to have correct fitting shoes, a good rule of thumb is to allow at least one adult finger's width from the end of the longest toe (this is not always the big toe). Remember, proper fitting shoes are very important. “Branded doesn’t always mean the best”.