Custom orthotics are a unique option to be offered to individuals that are having pain or mobility problems with their feet. However, not everyone needs orthotics. This may surprise some people, but let me say again that not everyone needs orthotics. Just like glasses adjusting the improper shape in the eyes, orthotics adjust for the improper support and alignment in the feet. Glasses can improve normal vision beyond 20/20, but are not required for normal functioning and vision. Similarly, orthotics can improve alignment in everyone, but if a person is already functioning and pain free, they are not necessary.
Children can benefit from custom orthotics, especially during the years of growing. Some doctors, however, may not know when a child needs custom orthotics, or exactly what custom orthotics can do. Orthotics are a specialized device created from a mold of the child’s foot. Since this mold is custom made to the foot, they align the feet properly, which in turn, align the knees, hips and spine. With proper alignment, many conditions or deformities can be precluded or improved. Therefore, orthotics may be prescribed in children for:
- Painful flat feet
- In-toe gait patterns (pigeon-toed walking)
- Pain to heels (such as Severs Disease)
- Pain to arches (Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction, Accessory Navicular, Pronation Syndrome)
- Leg length discrepancies
- Juvenile Bunions or Hammertoes (can slow progression and reduce pain)
- Frequent ankle sprains or tripping
- Shin Splints
- Leg pain at night
- Other walking abnormalities
- Other unexplained foot or ankle pain
With careful evaluation of their feet, their walking or running pattern, and wear patterns on their shoes, a podiatrist can determine if orthotics are right for the child. It is recommended that a child be evaluated if you think orthotics may be necessary.