Children cannot be managed in the same way as adults; their bodies are structurally different and as such must be assessed, rehabilitated, and monitored differently. Paediatric ankle foot orthotics aim to guide paediatric foot growth in a facilitated and controlled manner, by correcting bone malalignments and encouraging more effective muscle function over time.
Paediatric ankle foot orthotics are specialised lower limb devices that are designed to address a variety of conditions, including, but not limited to:
- Global development delays
- Gait disturbances
- Neurological deficits affecting gait
- Toe walking
- In-toeing /Out-toeing
Gait discrepancies caused by underlying conditions can hinder or even inhibit a child’s daily activities and ability to partake in sports. Unlike devices with simpler singular heel lifts or minor shoe modifications, the use of a paediatric AFO offers a full sole correction to address and influence the child’s overall biomechanics. Adjusting a child’s feet to the optimal position may prevent further biomechanical issues from developing and allows your child to function more efficiently and effectively.
Most children respond well to lower limb and postural adjustments but they must be calculated precisely. Your podiatrist must ensure that any devices placed on or under the limbs are designed specifically to the needs of the child, taking into consideration their growing skeleton, biomechanics, and activities. Making DIY alterations at home to your child’s footwear is often perceived as small and insignificant, but can actually do more harm. For example, they can aggravate existing conditions, increase malalignment and postural instability, or even cause altered biomechanics. It is not recommended to add heel raises or generic arch supports to the shoes of a growing child on your own. Instead, we recommended your child be checked professionally by a podiatrist.
As children grow in spurts, your child will also need regular follow-ups to ensure that the device continues to fit well, feel comfortable, and is functioning optimally for their current biomechanical state.
After the paediatric assessment, our podiatrists will discuss with parents the goals of proposed interventions and work with them towards achieving the most optimal outcome for their child.
Advantages of paediatric AFOs:
- Colourful, comfortable, and supportive
- Offers correction of foot problems, even in early stages of deformity
- Can be worn with or without footwear (similar to a sock)
- Can be used as soon as a child is even semi-weight-bearing
- Highly durable
- Encourages confidence in mobility and walking by providing supportive movement control
- Musculoskeletal and biomechanical changes can be seen in a short period
- Custom made to ensure an accurate fit and optimal functioning for the child