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Children’s Feet


At East Coast Podiatry Centre, we perform a full paediatric biomechanical exam for all children with musculoskeletal complaints. This allows us to build a comprehensive diagnosis of present and future problems for every paediatric patient. Biomechanical correction for children is most effective while they are still growing and moldable. To that end, we also work closely with physiotherapists and orthopaedic surgeons, and will promptly refer any children who need such treatments.

Early intervention is key to preventing any complications that might arise later in life.

Children Orthotics (shoe insoles)

Like adults, children can have foot pain and dysfunction.  Children’s foot problems are different from those of adults, there are often more serious differential diagnoses to consider, and the repercussions of incorrect treatment can be long-lasting.

 

Therefore, we recommend consultation with foot specialists when a child complains of foot pain, or when a parent notices abnormal gait patterns.  Proper correction via custom orthotics can help a child’s musculoskeletal system develop normally, and painlessly correct many conditions through daily use.

Children In-toeing

In-toeing, or “pigeon-toed”, is often noticed by parents when the toddler starts walking in earnest.  The feet appear to turn inward, instead of pointing out or straight ahead.  In-toeing can be due to abnormal bone alignment in the legs and feet, or due to soft tissue contractures in the hips, or a combination of both.  A lower extremity examination is necessary to pinpoint the site of rotational deformity.

 

Where conservative treatment is indicated, orthotic gait plates can be used to passively correct the in-toeing.  Orthopaedic surgery may be required in cases of severe deformity, pain, and/or limping.

Children Toe Walking

Parents usually notice toe-walking in a child when he/she first walks independently.  The toe-walking may be habitual (voluntary), or it may be due to an underlying neuromuscular or neuropsychiatric disorder (such as autism).

 

Even in the common case of habitual toe-walking, we initiate treatment to encourage the child to walk normally.  Prolonged toe-walking can lead to a shortening of the calf muscles and achilles tendon, in which case surgery may be required.

Children Knock Knees

Knock-knees, or genu valgum, is an angular deformity exhibited at the knees  when the child is standing at attention: the knees touch, but the feet do not.

 

While knock-knees development is physiologic and self-correcting for many children, medical attention is warranted in cases where it is severe or asymmetrical.  Surgery may be required.

 

Where knock-knees are mild and only require monitoring, podiatrists turn their attention to its secondary effects on the feet.  The valgus knee angle acts as a pronatory force on the feet, pushing them out and away from under the leg bones.  It is important to protect the feet from such abnormal stresses during a child’s development.

Dr. Michael Lai’s extensive hospital and SOC (Specialist Outpatient Clinic) training in the United States included multiple podopaediatric clinic rotations under distinguished professors. He is experienced in highly-technical treatments such as serial casting for infant clubfoot deformity (Ponsetti method).

 

Children’s feet are always rapidly developing and changing. They are vulnerable to congenital deformities, injuries specific to children and growing bones, as well as misalignment during growth which eventually leads to biomechanical problems in adult life.

 

Hence, podopaediatrics (podiatry targeting paediatric patients) is a challenging subspecialty within podiatry.

 

 

Learn More…

 

 

Author: Principal Podiatrist Michael LAI, DPM