The care of children’s feet within the podiatry profession is considered a speciality called podopaediatrics. The child’s foot is not simply a smaller version of the adult foot.
The obvious difference is that the child’s foot is a growing and changing structure, therefore the podiatrist caring for that foot needs to have an appreciation of how the foot develops over time as well as being able to recognise conditions that are specific to children.
When attending for an appointment at this clinic, all children have a one hour session when they are given a full lower limb joint assessment with muscle strength testing.
The position of the foot is influenced by the individual bone shape and joint movements within the foot, but since the whole of the body’s weight is placed through the foot when standing and walking, the position of the upper body, spine, pelvis, hips and knees can all influence how the foot functions. Similarly the foot can cause a change in position back up the limb. Problems with muscle strength and the neurological system will similarly affect how the foot functions.
Posture and balance are considered during the gait assessment. Treatment will obviously depend on the condition being treated but foot orthoses may be required to control the foot position. The use of good footwear is considered extremely important and when a biomechanical problem is diagnosed, most children will be given a muscle strength and stretching programme to undertake at home so that they can achieve optimal muscle strength and efficiency to maintain and full and active lifestyle. A pain-free, active child is the ultimate aim of our treatment.