The Paediatric foot
The human foot was once described by Leonardo da Vinci as “…a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art”.
Most podiatrists will agree wholeheartedly with that description that the 26 bones and 35 joints, all held together by 106 ligaments make it one of the most complex structures in the human body. For that reason the medical world agrees that foot health in children is paramount.
Many of the foot problems that children suffer with will continue into their adult life, so by creating a healthy foundation in a child’s foot, we set in place the foundations for proper adult foot function.
Children will start to walk anywhere from 8 to 18 months and a soft, flexible and often flat foot is what greets us when toddlers first get mobile. This can be very normal but concerns about just how much is “normal” can often concern parents and specialized opinions in these cases should be sort.
As children grow, having healthy and happy feet is also critical to allow involvement in all forms of physical activity. Sadly, many things can and will go wrong, and whilst this is not the norm, parents should be aware that any number of foot pathologies should be investigated at earliest convenience. Some of these conditions include;
- delayed walking
- anatomical abnormalities – excessively flat feet, curly toes, juvenile bunions
- gait/walking abnormalities – in or out-toeing, clumsy or awkward, excessive falls
- foot and leg aching
- growth related pain
- pain during sport or intense physical activity
- ingrown toenails
- sweating disorders/tinea
What needs to be done?
The podiatrists at the Essendon Foot Clinic are experienced in the treatment of these types of children’s conditions. Many, such as growing and developmental growth plate pain, cannot be cured, but management to reduce symptoms and maintain function is essential.
Often it is the reassurance that parents need that the treatments they are implementing are correct and that their child still fits within the parameters of “normality”.
In some cases it is advice on footwear, rehabilitation and training or alternative therapies such as massage or physiotherapy that is needed. In less common cases the use of orthoses may aid development by managing symptoms, reducing loads on injured structures or helping provide feedback for a stable gait.
If you are asking yourself the question…”is it normal for my child to walk, stand or run like that?” or “is that foot or toe position normal?” it may be time to have you child checked by a podiatrist at the Essendon Foot Clinic.