Don’t worry – they’ll grow out of it” is a common response to parents concerns about the development of their children’s feet or legs.
In some cases this can be true, however as children grow, their feet and legs undergo various stages of development. As Orthotists, we can advise you whether your child’s development falls within acceptable limits for their age or if treatment may be required. If over-pronation persists and causes symptoms, foot orthoses can be used to alleviate the issues.
Symptoms can include pain in the heel or instep, sore arches, sore shins, pain behind the knee cap or at the outside of the knee, problems with balance and walking endurance, wearing the sides of the shoes or the outsoles quickly.
Don’t dismiss your child’s consistent complaints of aches as “just growing pains” The reason for this can sometimes be due to poor foot and leg posture. The following are common lower limb conditions treated by our orthotic team:
Pigeon Toed or In-toeing Gait is when the feet turn inwards when walking. In-toeing is normal in children however, consult your child’s doctor if the in-toeing affects only one leg, is severe and not improving with time, causes tripping or the feet are stiff and not improving with time.
The three common causes of in-toeing are:
Metatarsusadductus: the foot curves inwards. In most babies the foot is flexible and improves without treatment by the age of two or three. Some children require shoe inserts to help straighten their feet.
Internal tibial torsion: is when the bone of the lower leg turns inwards between the knee and the ankle causing the foot to point inwards. It is very common in infancy and childhood and usually corrects without treatment by the time the child is about eight years old.
Internal femoral torsion: is when the thigh bone turns inwards between the hip and the knee resulting in the knee and foot pointing inwards. This is normal in young children, and usually corrects without treatment by the time the child is about 10 years old.
Calcanealapophysitis, commonly known as Sever’s disease, causes pain in the bone at the back of the heel. This pain occurs because of a mismatch between the growth of the calf bones and muscles is a condition that affects children between the ages of 8 and 12 years.
Activities, such as running or jumping, cause the already tight Achilles to pull on the growth plate resulting in injury and inflammation at the heel where the Achilles tendon inserts into the heel bone (Calcaneus). Typically, the pain at the back of the heel is worse after physical activity and improves with rest.
As the symptoms are due to strain on the growth plate, the treatment should be aimed at reducing this strain.
This can be achieved in several ways including:
For further information on this or any other foot, ankle or lower limb relatedproblems see your Orthotist at Massons Healthcare or consult your Doctor.