Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts that are used to treat or prevent a variety of foot conditions. They can be made in a variety of styles to suit the needs of the wearer, which can include the need for more stability in the joints of the feet, extra arch support, motion control and cushioning for pain reduction. A podiatrist will carry out a foot assessment before recommending a type of orthotic. Orthotics can be used by children as well as adults, and getting orthotics to address a foot problem as a child may prevent additional foot health problems from developing in adulthood. When a child requires orthotics but doesn't get them, they can develop ankle and back problems, which can lead to mobility problems as they grow.

Signs Your Child May Need Orthotics

Early warning signs that your child could be experiencing an issue with their feet and may need orthotics include falling more than other children in their age range, struggling to keep up with their peers when running around or playing and lagging behind consistently on family walks. It's also common for children who require orthotics to complain of foot pain, which worsens the longer they are walking and they may also develop ankle pain or lower back pain.

Foot Problems Treated With Orthotics

When your child is very young, their feet will differ from yours due to the fact their bones are still forming. It's common for young children to have flat feet and to walk on their tiptoes. Young children's toes will also often either point outwards or inwards. Most of these early foot issues will resolve unaided by the time a child starts school, so if you notice any of these foot problems in a school-aged child, they should be assessed by a podiatrist.

Orthotics can lift the arches and resolve tiptoe walking by altering how your child's weight is distributed across their feet, and additional cushioning at appropriate pressure points can help resolve outward or inward pointing toes. This will make wearing shoes more comfortable for your child.

Knock knees or bow-legs in a child older than a toddler can cause ankle pain as their feet will roll inwards, so additional arch support from orthotics will help stabilise their ankles and improve their gait. Using orthotics to reduce stress on the muscles and joints of your child's feet can ensure their delicate ankles are receiving enough support and can improve poor posture.

If you have any concerns about the health of your child's feet, or if they have any of the signs of common paediatric foot problems mentioned above, have them assessed by a podiatrist. For more information about orthotics, reach out to a local service.