Tips & Advice From South Dublin Podiatry

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Children's Feet

April 15, 20243 min read

Children's Feet

Patients with foot problems come to us in all shapes and sizes from 6 months to 100 years. We love to see kids coming in as they are always smiling and have great stories to tell. One of our favourite memories is the 11 year old boy who brought in his accordion to an appointment to play a tune for us.

 

Children come into South Dublin Podiatry in 2 main groups, those with chiropody issues like Verruca & Ingrown toenails and those with Biomechanical issues like flat feet.

 

We understand how important it is to make kids feel welcome and do our best to make sure they never feel overwhelmed. 

 

One of the most common questions we get asked by parents is….

Does my child have flat feet & do they need insoles?

Flat feet (sometimes known as pronation) is a very common condition often seen in children, and effects all infants or toddlers as the arches of their feet have not yet developed.

Flat feet in children often do not cause pain and from the age of 2-8 years old, the feet are still in developmental stages. In that time the fatty pad that lies under the arch is slowly thinning as bones and other tissues start to form and change.

As a result often kids feet ‘roll-in’ or pronate at the beginning and kids shoes will have more visible wearing on the inside of their outer soles. This movement of rolling in or pronation may be completely normal and not cause any symptoms of pain in the feet or elsewhere up the body.

 

How do I know if my child needs insoles?

However, if your child pronates (due to flat feet) to the extent that other areas in the body are under extra load or stress, various types of pain can occur for example; heel pain, achilles pain, knee discomfort and in some cases lower back pain.

 

In these cases, a podiatrist would assess the degree of this dysfunctional movement and may intervene with orthotics (insoles) to correct fallen arches and ultimately reduce the amount of pronation causing the child’s pain. Other possible causes of the child’s symptoms will be investigated as it could be a simple sign of growth e.g. growing pains in legs.

 

There are two types of flat feet in children, flexible flat feet and rigid flat feet. Flexible flat feet are identified when the arches of the child’s foot are evident on standing on tip toes but collapse during stance/walking. Flexible flat feet that are pain free do not require any treatment. Painful flexible flat feet can be treated with the use of a simple insole (or arch support) which will relieve the tension under the foot immediately. Insoles for fallen arches are an easy, quick and effective way of treating flat feet. However, at present many kid’s shoe stores now offer specific footwear with added arch/midfoot support and can often be treated this way alone.

 

Rigid flat feet require more immediate attention and your podiatrist will easily distinguish the difference. This condition occurs often when two or more bones fuse in the foot and is referred to as tarsal coalition. Limited motion of the child’s feet results in a flat footed posture. Depending on the cause of rigid flat feet, children may need casting, bracing or possibly surgery to relieve symptoms.

  

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