Does Your Child Need Orthotics?
There is currently quite a bit of debate as to what is the best shoe and orthotic combination for growing and adult feet. eastwest physiotherapy uses the common sense approach.
Firstly it is quite normal for very young children to have flat feet (low arches) and bowed legs.
This stage is between one and seven years. It is very uncommon for children to need orthotic intervention at this age. We encourage lots of time in bare feet and when choosing shoes the more flexible the better.
As children increase their participation in sport more stress is placed on the muscles, ligaments, bones and fascia. This is a fantastic input to the growing nervous system and the more time outside away from the computer the healthier the child becomes. Clinically from 7-12 years children start to take on their adult postures and motor patterns are being developed. Some children may encounter issues relating to posture and may complain of overly tired legs, specific ankle or knee pain or may have coordination problems.
From twelve to sixteen the children are rapidly growing, hopefully participating in loads of physical activity and we believe are in a very critical stage of postural development. Walking and running patterns are being grooved in the nervous system for life.
This is a great time for an assessment at eastwest physiotherapy. In-toed or out-toed patterns can be easily measured and corrected using orthotics (this is similar to braces for oral alignment and can only be fixed when the bones are growing). This can influence spinal health and alignment.
As the kids get more active and heavier a host of lower limb conditions can occur including arch pain, achilles tendon/severs, shin splints, aching legs, patello femoral pain, low back pain, osgoodschlatters and general growing pains. Generally these conditions get worse with:
1) Faulty biomechanics
2) Excessive tissue loading
3) Rapid growth spurts.
Faulty biomechanics need to be assessed by our movement professionals, as over pronation/supination are poor postural positions. Some common methodology used includes gait analysis, muscle testing, digital postural analysis and palpation of tissue stress.
Some common correctable physical findings may include:
1) Muscle imbalance
2) Leg length difference
3) Pelvic misalignment
4) Excessive ankle pronation/supination
5) Instability/hyper mobility
We are proud of our innovative and logical approach to postural biomechanics at the eastwest physiotherapy.