Treating foot problems in childhood can prevent other physiological issues later in life
When I saw an article in the Vancouver Sun about taking steps toward happy feet, it really made me think of many of the younger patients that we see on a regular basis at Kintec. We commonly hear from the parents that their son or daughter has trouble keeping up with their friends during daily activities or sports and ‘it doesn’t look normal when they run’. These can be signs that the child is experiencing pain from activity or they have poor foot mechanics that are affecting the way the feet, ankles and legs function.
Children’s feet are generally very flexible and will not develop a full arch structure until approximately 7 or 8 years of age. It is normal for younger children to have flat feet and this should be of no concern unless the child’s balance or daily activities are being affected. Choose footwear that bends at the toes matching the natural bend point of the foot, a shoe should not bend through the middle of the arch. The toe of the shoe should curve up slightly allowing for a natural forward motion as the heel of the foot starts to lift off the ground. Beware of shoes that are very flat, do not bend through the toes and are very stiff. Do not buy shoes that are too big to allow for some growth room. Shoes need to fit, regardless of how fast the foot is growing.
As parents watch your children during sporting activities. Do they have trouble keeping up? Are they losing interest in sports? Do they complain about foot or leg pain during or after sports? Talk to your family doctor if there is any pain with activity, he or she can refer you to a Canadian Certified Pedorthist for a biomechanical gait exam. A Kintec Fit Expert or Certified Pedorthist can assess the foot mechanics and make recommendations around appropriate footwear, insoles or orthotics.