Children's Feet

Feet can be an issue for children at various stages of their growth. They may have some developmental issues or aches and pains from the sport they're playing.

If these conditions are treated early, there's a good chance that your child will successfully overcome their condition. Every parent wants their child to have the best start in life. We can help build your child's strength and mobility, and help them to achieve their potential.

Babies and toddlers

Little feet are not just a smaller version of adult feet.

Babies and toddlers' feet are still developing, with softer cartilage instead of fully-formed adult bones.

The key message is to let your child walk barefoot as much as possible. 

Walking barefoot helps your child's foot to develop normally. For example, their toes will be free to move naturally and "grasp" the surface they're walking on, whether it be carpet or grass. Walking barefoot helps your child to develop a good, coordinated walking pattern. Walking barefoot early in life helps feet develop strength and coordination.

Choosing shoes for babies and toddlers

With their bones still developing, the right shoes can have a big impact. 

Take the time to ensure your child's shoes fit well. Abnormal, repetitive pressure such as badly fitting shoes can have a long term effect.

Here are some tips to help you choose your child's early pairs of shoes.

  • Lightweight. The shoes should feel as light as a feather.
  • Smooth soles. Shop for shoes with a smooth sole so your child doesn't catch their feet and trip on rippled soles.
  • Flexible and soft. You should be able to bend the shoes in all directions with no restrictions.
  • Breathable. Choose natural fabrics such as leather, cotton or canvas because they will stretch and breathe better than synthetics.
  • Flat shoes are best because they are similar to walking barefoot. Avoid arch supports for your child's first shoes.
  • No second hand shoes. Avoid hand me downs because your child's feet will have to fit into shoes already molded by another child.

School-aged children

All children have flat feet to start with, but this starts to disappear by the time they turn five.

If you think your child has an arch that is flatter than normal, and their feet are causing them problems, give us a call.

There are three reasons why you may need to consider arch support for your child.

1. Pathological flat foot

This is when there is an underlying, long-lasting condition. We will run various checks, which may include checking the wear on your child's shoes, checking how they stand on tip-toe and whether they can stand on their heels.

We may prescribe a series of exercise and give advice about more supportive shoes.

Your child's symptoms may include foot, leg or knee pain, or deformities such as bunions.

2. Medical conditions

These can include neurological and musculoskeletal conditions such as cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome.

3. Being overweight

If your child is overweight, they may benefit from arch supports and more comfortable shoes.

Choosing shoes

Here are a few tips to help you choose shoes for your school-aged child.

  • Easy to fasten. Velcro tabs are a great option for younger children. We like the idea of two velcro tabs for extra security.
  • Strongly-gripping sole. Look for a sole with lots of grip, to help your child better navigate conditions such as wet or slippery surfaces and slopes.
  • Supportive ankles. If your child needs extra support around their ankles, look for a pair of shoes with more support around the back of the shoes. 
  • Strong toe cap. We like the look of shoes with strong, sturdy toe caps, to better weather all their running, shuffling and scraping.

 

Sever's Disease

Yes, the name does sound frightening, but it's not as bad as it sounds. Sever's disease is a very common heel injury that occurs in kids. It's painful but it doesn't last forever and it has no long-term effects.

Sever's Disease is a painful bone disorder which comes about when the growth plate in your growing child's heel becomes inflamed and swells. 

Growth plates are the area at the end of bones which turn into new bone over time. It's how we grow taller and develop longer feet and limbs.

Sever's Disease is most common in active kids. It usually occurs during their adolescent growth spurt at the beginning of adolescence. This can be anwhere between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 10 to 15 for boys.

It's rare for older teenagers to suffer from Sever's Disease because the growth plate at the bak of the heel usually finishes growing by the time they reach 15.

Treatment

We pull out all the stops to ease your child's pain. 

Our techniques include:

  • foot mobilisation—releasing stuck or frozen joints in your child's feet
  • assessing your child's gait to see if there are any underlying causes to their pain
  • "trigger point" muscle work, which means treating any restricted muscles
  • footwear advice, and
  • setting a series of stretching exercises which your child can do at home.

 

Our Practice is wheelchair friendly