Has something seemed… off about your child lately? Is it just your imagination or are they dragging their feet when they walk? And why does it seem like they’re always leaning their weight on one leg over the other?
What you’re noticing may not be a behavioral change. Your child may be dealing with pain in their feet.
There are several signs to look out for, which we’ve listed below. If your child meets the criteria, seek orthopedic care.
They’re Out of Alignment
Pediatric orthopedic care is more necessary for kids with misaligned knees and ankles. The tops of their first two toes should line up with the center of their knees.
You can also check the backs of their ankles. The large tendon that runs from the heel to the calf should form a straight line. If it curves in any direction, your child is out of alignment.
Alignment issues may seem minor but they can lead to injury down the line. Improper alignment can affect their knees, hips, back, and shoulders. If in doubt, give your doctor a call.
They Have Low Arches (or Flat Feet)
When should children have orthotics? Usually, when their arches don’t develop.
44% of children aged three to six have flat feet. Typically, this improves with age as the bones in the feet become more rigid. But if the child’s arches don’t develop, they can be at higher risk for certain health issues.
For example, flat feet can lead to overpronation. This is where the ankle rolls in when the child takes a step. Overpronation can lead to injuries, knee issues, and postural problems over time.
They Lag Behind
If your child is always lagging behind or opting out of physical activity, this may be a sign of something awry. Foot or ankle pain can keep them from running full-speed into the next activity.
This is one way to know how to tell if kids need orthotics. Ask them if they have any pain or discomfort when they walk. If they also have flat arches, take them to see a pediatric podiatrist.
They Trip Often
Excessive clumsiness is another reason to look into orthopedic care for kids. Kids aren’t the most coordinated among us. But if your child is always tripping, they may have an issue with their feet.
This can be a helpful non-verbal cue that they’re in pain or struggling to walk properly. Check their feet for abnormal growth, bunions, or excessive pronation.
They Complain of Foot Pain
This is one of the more straight-forward signs that you may need to look into orthopedic inserts for kids. Your child may come right out and tell you that their feet hurt.
But if they’re too young, they may tug at their shoes or refuse to stand or walk. Consider double-checking their toddler shoe sizes. The issue may be that they’ve already outgrown their shoes again.
Foot pain should always be treated seriously, as it can lead to more problems in the future.
Consider Orthopedic Care
The above are several common reasons to seek orthopedic care for your child. But you don’t need to drop everything at the first sign of a wobble. If your child shows symptoms often, contact your podiatrist.
To learn more about affording pediatric care, visit our Personal Finance & Budgeting section.