Although most people think of foot orthotics as being necessary for adults, children can need them too.
As a professional in this field, it is often up to you to be the one to educate your community to this fact. What information might parents need to ensure that children who need foot orthotics get them?
Signs a child may need foot orthotics
There are several are things parents can look for to decide if child could benefit from foot orthotics. Some to consider include:
- If the child continuously trips or falls
- The soles of their shoes show uneven wear
- A child who doesn’t want to walk on his or her own more that those their age.
- Unusual foot position while the child is walking,
- Skin abnormalities on the child’s feet.1
Foot orthotics for specific issues
Some of the situations that you may want to mention when it comes to children who could possibly benefit from foot orthotics include:
- Children who have growing pains. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Pediatric Association, a number of kids who are taken to a podiatrist with achy legs “are clinically assessed as having pronated foot posture.” They found that in-shoe devices were effective for pronated food posture and aching legs in children.2
- Children with Down syndrome. A study published in NeuroRehabilitation found that children with Down syndrome benefited from foot orthotics. 3 In this case, the 26 subjects were all between three and six years of age and the researchers found that, for them, foot orthotics help reduce heel eversion, as well as other factors important to proper walking gait and standing foot stance.
- Children with hypotonia. Hypotonia refers to decreased muscle tone and, for children that have it, early detection and treatment is necessary to avoid walking-related issues later in life.4
Getting information to parents
Educating parents as to when children might need foot orthotics is the first step to making sure their little feet get them, if necessary. You can do this by creating a pamphlet and giving one to each patient, putting this type of information in a blog on your website, offering free consultations with children, or even referring them to this article—the possibilities are endless.
It may also help to let parents know what could potentially happen if their child doesn’t get the foot orthotics he or she needs. Discuss the immediate ramifications as well as those that may occur down the road so that they thoroughly understand that they could be doing their child a great disservice not only right now, but also years down the road.
1 Foot & Ankle Center of Washington. “Childrens’ Foot and Ankle Conditions–A Parent’s Guide.” http://www.footankle.com/children-feet/. Published November 2011. Accessed July 2015.
2 Evans AM. Relationship between “growing pains” and foot posture in children: single-case experimental designs in clinical practice. Journal of the American Pediatric Association. 2003;93(2):111-7.
3 Selby-Silverstein L et al. The effect of foot orthoses on standing foot posture and gait of young children with Down Syndrome. NeuroRehabilitation. 2001;16(3):183-93.
4 Glairon S. “Orthotic Management of Low-Tone Children: The Earlier the Better.” Oandp.com. http://www.oandp.com/articles/2011-04_01.asp. Published April 2011. Accessed July 2015.