One of the most important aspects of being a parent is making sure your child is healthy. Not only do children understand less about their health than their parents do, when they know something is wrong, they will often try to hide it to avoid a trip to the doctor. There are so many different aspects of a child’s health & safety to monitor that it can sometimes be overwhelming, and some things can slip under the radar. In this blog, we will outline some of the biggest signs to look out for that indicate your child may have a foot problem.
Changes in Behaviour
There are few things children fear more than a visit to the doctor, so if they think something is wrong, there’s a good chance they’re going to try to hide it. If it seems like your child is trying to prevent you from looking at their feet, it could be a sign that something may be wrong. If they suddenly go from being an extremely active child to one who spends a lot of time sitting around, that is another red flag. Watch out for any changes in their behaviour, and if you are still unsure after examining them yourself, assure them that going to a foot doctor does not involve getting any injections.
Lack of Arches
All children are different and develop at different rates, so a lack of clear arches in the feet is not always a cause for concern. In children under two years old, some children may have clearly formed arches, while others will not, so there is no cause for concern. By 6 years old, most children will have arches that are easily visible, though it is still not unusual for kids to have flat feet. Pointing the child’s toes in a straight line is the best way to assess whether or not the arches are forming. Although it is still possible that your child’s feet may be forming, if there are no arches visible after 6 years of age, you may want to take them to see a podiatrist.
Struggling to Keep Up
Although society as a whole is generally less physically active than in the past, children are usually extremely energetic and always on the go. Unless your child has a pre-existing condition such as asthma, they should be more or less as capable as their peers. If they are struggling to keep up, it may be because of a lack of arches. Another possibility is that their legs or feet are overused, in which case you should ensure that they get some rest. If it is a frequent or long-lasting issue, an examination by a podiatrist could tell you if their ligaments are inflamed or torn.
While tripping over occasionally is not unusual for anyone, frequently falling is not. If your child appears to be tripping a lot, it could signal either fallen arches or an issue with pronation, which is how well-aligned their heels are with the ground. If you look at your child standing up straight, the centre of their heels should line up with the centre of their legs. If they appear to be walking on the inside or outside of their feet, it could signal a problem with their pronation, in which case they may need to get orthotics.
Issues with the feet can be hard to notice, especially since many of them develop slowly over time. You cannot rely on your child to monitor this themselves, so if you notice any of the above signs, you should examine them yourself and consider taking them to a podiatrist. Foot problems will rarely go away on their own, usually growing worse over time, so identifying and addressing these issues early on is the best way to get your child back to normal as soon as possible.