Toddlers to Teenagers – Walking Issues?
Peter and Hannah have a particular interest in general lower limb walking assessments, but also in children’s walking patterns.
Many parents are worried when their children seem to be late-walkers, or if their child toes-in – or splays out – when walking.
We undertake many assessments each month where parents are concerned about their children’s flat feet, knee pain, shin splints or hip pain. In addition to toddler’s walking patterns, we have also treated lots of older children and teenagers with the associated symptoms of growth spurts, sports injuries or even foot pain from ingrown nails or verrucas/warts!
We work closely with local Paediatricians in assisting children with cerebral palsy, joint hypermobility, muscular dystrophy and other medical conditions that impact on stance and gait.
If you would like to know if we could help in an assessment of your child, please feel free to contact us on 01244 37 37 57.
We can also help with ‘milestone’ lower limb development; for example your child may be diagnosed with ‘flat feet’, but we can provide regular checks to measure if the developing arch is progressing in line with calculations and measurements pertinent to that particular age.
The human foot is a highly complex structure, composed of 26 bones working together to enable us to walk and run, providing mobility and quality of life. In neonatal cases, the foot is made up of relatively soft and flexible cartilage that gradually converts to bone over time. During this period of development, great care should be taken with your child’s feet as they can be at risk from injury and deformity due to ill-fitting footwear and abnormal activity.
A baby’s foot needs to be looked after very, very carefully. Soft cartilage can easily be bent out of shape in shoes that don’t fit without you or your child noticing – the layer of fat means your child will feel no pain while this is happening. And as a baby’s foot is so flexible, it can easily be squeezed into a badly fitting shoe, storing up trouble for the future. The correct fit stops this happening in the first place.
- Wash children’s feet daily with soap and water and dry well, particularly between the toes.
- Check that the feet in babygrows and sleep suits are long enough and not cramping your child’s toes.
- Check the size of children’s socks especially if you tumble dry them as they can shrink and if they are too tight they can restrict growth.
- Only put pram shoes on your child’s feet for special occasions. They are difficult to size and are best avoided.
- Use soft bootees for children prior to them walking. They keep the feet warm but do not cramp the toes or cause constriction round the ankle.
- Always get shoes for toddlers and early walkers fitted by a trained shoe fitter. Shoes should reflect the shape of a child’s foot i.e. triangular with a narrow heel and wide at the toes. Ignoring this feature may lead to deformity of the big toe.
- The use of baby walkers is best avoided as they encourage load bearing earlier than would occur naturally. Research has shown that they can be associated with a delay in normal walking and activities such as standing and crawling. The use of baby walkers is now actually banned in Canada.