Did you know that children who suffer from foot pain early on have a higher probability of experiencing foot problems throughout adulthood? Prevention begins by evaluating the condition of a child’s foot as early as age four.
A child should spend as much time being barefoot as possible from the ages of 0 – 4. This allows the muscles in their feet to develop. The exception to this is if a child has an issue that needs to be addressed such as poor balance, coordination, or posture. Children at such a young age should simply wear shoes that protect but don’t necessarily support their feet.
The most common condition that afflicts children is flexible flat foot, a disorder caused by a foot that does not become rigid with age coupled with an increased eversion of the arch. Children younger than four typically have a flat foot, but develop an arch later in childhood. Some key indicators a child zero to four years of age may develop flexible flat foot are poor coordination, balance, posture, and strength.
Problems to Watch for:
- Foot pain is a signal to parents that their child is experiencing foot troubles. Other symptoms such as reported pain in the ankles, hips and back may also indicate the presence of a potential foot problem.
- One of the things that we as parents often forget about is a child’s core strength. Strong core muscles make it easier to do many physical activities. Core strength directly affects the strength of a foot. Poor core strength can hinder a child’s ability to run, to play sports and engage in other forms of physical activity.
- If you’ve noticed your child doesn’t run as fast as their peers, has issues with their balance and posture, has underdeveloped motor skills or is overweight, there could be an underlying factor inhibiting foot strength.
- Foot problems can be hereditary. Parents with foot problems have a 50 percent chance of passing along similar conditions to their children.
When a child turns seven or eight, parents should begin focusing on the model and type of shoe purchased, especially if the child uses orthotics.
It’s not always obvious that a child has a foot problem. But it is worth the time to evaluate the condition of little feet and to address any potential concerns early on. Being proactive could save children and parents time, money, and bothersome foot pain, injuries and surgery in their future.
Make an appointment and see your kid-friendly Chiropodist today!