Noticing issues with the way your child walks or runs? Flat feet or a pigeon toed walk? Most of the time this can be related to their normal development. Children go through many years of joint rotations whilst they’re growing, so it is normal that they will go through periods of having flat feet, knock kneed and bow legged. But if they're complaining or growing pains, or joint and muscle pain, please bring them to have their joints and walking checked.
Does my child need orthotics or special shoes?
Depending on your child's problem, orthotics may be one treatment option. They are used to control movement that is causing pain and fit easily into current school shoes and joggers. Depending on the issue, stretching or strengthening exercises, strapping, padding and/or footwear advice may also be used.
Nowadays it is very rare for children to be required to wear braces or orthopaedic shoes, unless a neurological or development problem has been diagnosed. Commercial shoes are so good these days that appropriate shoes are available from common retail outlets at reasonable prices.
What do I look for in a good shoe?
Always get your child's shoes fitted as their feet grow very quickly and same sizes vary between different brands. Shoes that are too large can cause tripping and too short cause pain. When your child is standing ensure the longest toe is a thumb width away from the end of the shoe to give enough room for growth
Look for shoe attributes rather than brand names, attributes include:
- Consider some kind of “fixation” device, so the foot is held into the shoe, e.g. laces, buckles or sandals with straps
- Buy a shoes for the activity, e.g. soccer boots for soccer and runners for school sport rather than having them in schools shoes
- Children need to be comfortable and allowed to develop properly, so excessively stiff shoes are not required
- Avoid backless slip on shoes / slides as they may make your child unstable
- High heels they have a poor effect on posture