When is the last time you had your kids assessed for physical structural alignment and biomechanics to ensure their growth is A+ just as in academic performance?
For most parents it’s normal to take their child for regular checkups to ensure they have healthy eyes and teeth, but a part of the body often ignored is a child’s feet. A child’s feet are the foundation of their body. The feet of growing age child are soft and pliable. A complex network of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, nerves & blood vessels must work together to enable efficient and pain free transfer of body weight over the feet.
If any of the structures in this rapidly growing network are out of balance, the impact can be felt throughout the entire body and can lead to poor posture, muscle tightness and mal–alignment. If left untreated in the growing child, foot and leg problems can cause years of unavoidable pain and lost activity. This can have long-term impacts on the physical activity levels and child may suffer from heel, knee or back pain, various disorders and deformities.
Importance of correcting faulty biomechanical alignment:
- Prevent progression of faulty alignment into structural deformities
- Improve fitness and enhance performance in sports activities
- Reduces chances of sports related injuries like sprains, muscle tears etc
- Pain free life
- Prevent early wear & tear in other joints like knee, hip, spine etc. in later stage of life.
Given below are some of the significant changes parents should observe in their children, which may need a visit to a Podiatrist or a Foot specialist.
Things to observe:
- Frequent ankle twists/falling while running or playing
- Tired achy legs on a regular basis
- Lack of participation or performance in sports/physical activities due to poor endurance
- Shoe wearing out unevenly
- Falling inner arch or very high arch
- Any bulge or bony growth on inner aspect of base of great toe.
- Toes abnormally curved
- Shape of foot resembles kidney beans or banana
- Standing with heels or outer border of feet off the floor
- Both knees looking each other or opposite side
- Corn/callus (dry hard skin) on sole of foot
- Abnormal bulging on inner/outer aspect of ankle
- Limping while walking or one leg shorter or longer.
- Walking with toe-in or toe-out
Vital stages in gait (refers to the pattern of walking) development occur before the age of 8. Intervening early and identifying the root cause of the problem, while bones are still rapidly growing, offers the best opportunity to make lasting improvements to a child’s foot and leg health.
If we catch these problems early, many conditions can be successfully treated. These young development years for children’s feet will directly affect their strength and mobility in later years.
All children should have a scheduled physical structural alignment checkup at the following times:
Age 5-10 (just before a child starts primary school)
Age 11-15 (just before a child starts secondary school)
If you have heard ……“Oh it’s growing pains, the child will grow out of it”, this is a misconception and a child’s foot pain should not be ignored.