You want the best for your child, especially when it comes to his or her health and happiness. You also likely want your child to have every opportunity possible. Unfortunately, foot and ankle pain is a health issue that can take away happiness and certain opportunities. One of the ways we might relieve your child’s foot or ankle pain is with a pair of orthotics — but how can you know if a child might benefit from these devices?
Well, the answer starts with identifying the problem that needs to be addressed. When it comes to children, a common concern for parents is flat feet. It’s only natural to wonder if your child’s flat feet need to be treated, but there is a chance this isn’t a major problem at all.
It can help to know that feet take time to develop. A child’s foot arches can be hidden under fat pads for the first couple of years. After this, it is not terribly uncommon for children to have a condition known as flexible flatfoot while the arches develop. This process can last until around 8 years of age and is marked by feet that appear flat while the child is standing, but then arches can be observed when he or she stands on tiptoe or is seated.
Flexible flatfoot often goes away in time as the arches harden. If this doesn’t happen, treatment—including orthotics for children—might be needed, but only if there is pain or issues with mobility.
Bunions aren’t as particularly common for children as other medical conditions, but they do happen. When this is the case, treatment is needed. A bunion is progressive, which means it will worsen over time if left unaddressed. Further, a bunion that affects a child’s gait can potentially result in other medical issues.
When it comes to treating pediatric bunions, custom orthotics are a conservative option that can be beneficial in relieving symptoms and halting the conditions progression. Further, orthotic therapy may be able to reduce the risk of your child needing surgical intervention later in life.
Of course, the best way to know whether your child will need orthotics for these, or other foot problems such as heel pain or gait abnormalities, is to bring your son or daughter in for an appointment. Foot pain isn’t normal, for children or adults, so don’t hesitate to contact us by calling (510) 647-3744.