DOES MY CHILD NEED ORTHOTICS?
We often get asked these common questions around children and orthotics:
'Does my child needs orthotics?'
'Do they really need them?'
'When do they need them?'
'Is it a good treatment for 'flat feet'?'
When a child has flat feet or over-pronated feet, they may have been told by someone that they need orthotics.
As a parent, this may rattle you up a bit and can cause you to panic, but...
THE REAL QUESTION AROUND ORTHOTICS AND CHILDREN
The question you need to be asking first is: 'Do they REALLY need them, or is there an alternative?'
The answer may not be a clear yes or a no, but as physiotherapists, we get nervous when people start talking about bracing children and putting them in a really firm, hard device such as a custom orthotic.
You should always ask a physiotherapist, because there is a time and a place for orthotics - whether that's a custom hard orthotic, heat mouldable orthotic or even off-the-shelf ones.
It actually depends on what the exact problem is and what the holistic treatment plan is.
WHAT ELSE CAN BE DONE FOR CHILDREN'S FEET?
From our perspective, it's no good just throwing someone in an orthotic and hoping that they get better, without teaching them the right stretches or strength exercises to make sure that they get back to their full health.
That is the real magic - stretches, strength exercises and stability training!
Orthotics are only a temporary solution, an aid that might be used for 3, 6, maybe 12 months.
By the end of that time period, you should be back to full and pain free movement doing what it is that you love.