Keeping your kids on their toes at school

Children appear to “sprout” over the Christmas holidays.  Back to school usually means new shoes.

Their feet shape the way they grow.

Your child’s feet play a significant role in shaping posture and walking patterns.  An abnormal foot structure may cause gait or postural difficulties and result in excessive fatigue, lower back pain, leg pains or cramping.  And symptoms may persist throughout your child’s adult life.

The foot is one of the most complex parts of the human body with 26 bones and is laced with ligaments, muscles, blood vessels and nerves.  Surveys show that 80% of feet that have reached adulthood will have some form of foot problem.

A child’s foot is not simply a miniature version of an adult’s.  The shape is quite different – an adult’s is rectangular, but a child’s foot is triangular, with the widest part across the toes and a narrow, tapering heel.  This means it is important for footwear to be correctly fitted by a trained and experienced fitter.

Be on the Look Out.

“It can be difficult to tell whether your child has a foot disorder.  Unless your child is in extreme pain, they won’t let you know.  Or your child may be too young to tell you about the pain.  So it’s your responsibility as a parent to be on the look out for symptoms which might indicate a foot problem,” says Linda Garbett, Podiatrist at Coorparoo Podiatry Centre.

Growing up doesn’t mean growing out of it.

Don’t make the mistake of dismissing constant leg pains or a “funny walk” as something ‘nature will take care of’.

Parents often ignore symptoms, believing their child will simply “grow out of it’.  But relying on nature is risky.  Your child’s awkward walk or growing pains, could have a serious underlying cause, one which will not simply disappear.

That’s why it’s best to have your child’s feet checked by a podiatrist.

Put check-ups at the top of the list.

Podiatrists can provide treatment and advice on a range of problems including flat feet, feet that turn in or out, unusual walking patterns, curly toes, heel pain, nail problems, footwear needs and sporting injuries.  

If your child is between the ages of 18 months and 7 years, they should have their feet checked by a podiatrist once a year.  Routine check-ups are the best way to ensure your child maintains a healthy pair of feet.  It is particularly important for your child to have a check-up if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Painful legs
  • Excessive knock knees or bow legs
  • Flat feet or ankles that roll in
  • Unusual toe positions
  • Awkward walk            

For further information contact:

          Coorparoo Podiatry Centre    PH 3397 2193