Flat feet- Children’s feet | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

 

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Children with flat feet, also called pes planus, have a flattening of the arch during standing and walking.

Flat foot is normal in infants and young children. At this age, in the absence of any associated symptoms, treatment is highly debatable.

Flat foot usually naturally corrects itself as muscles strengthen and soft tissues stiffen. The height of the arch in the foot increases with age until about 9 years. The problem is when flat foot persists, spontaneously occurs in older children or later in life, or is associated with pain and disability.

Flat feet can be flexible or rigid, painful or painless and associated with a tightness of the calf muscles (Achilles tendon). The majority of flat feet are painless, but when pain is present it is usually during weight-bearing activities such as walking and running. The pain can be in the sole of the foot, the ankle, or non-specific pain all around the foot area.

 

What causes flat feet?

A complex and sophisticated interaction of bones, ligaments, muscles and nerves within and above the foot defines its anatomy and function. Anything that interrupts the integrity of these structures leading to a collapsed arch can cause symptomatic flat feet.

Examination of the foot begins with an examination of the entire child, because the flat foot may have an underlying cause.

Flat foot can also originate from unusual anatomy such as a tarsal coalition (bones joined together), ligament or muscle damage, restricted ankle movement, outward rotated lower legs, and knock knees (where the legs bow inwards at the knee). Obesity can result in collapse of the arches by the increased load on the foot. If knock knees also develop, the middle of the foot will tend to turn out (abduct). The foot will point outwards when walking, instead of straight ahead, which is inefficient and can cause early fatigue.

Footwear in early childhood has been thought to cause flat foot. It is likely that children who wear shoes, are not physically active and have flat feet will have decreased muscle activation in their feet and thus impaired foot function and weakness.

Some older children and adolescents develop flat feet in the absence of any disorder or associated factors.

 

Does flat foot need to be treated?

Flat feet require treatment only if clearly associated with pain or decreased function. Managing the underlying cause or disease is of highest priority; just treating the symptoms should be secondary.

If flat foot is observed in a child who is overweight and has knock knees, or in a child with excess joint flexibility and poor footwear, each of these factors could be contributing to the symptoms, and each should be addressed.

If a child’s quality of life is affected by how their feet look, feel or function, then the associated issues should be addressed.

For any foot problems, contact The Podiatrist.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

http://www.kidsnmotion.co.nz

5 quick and easy tips to healthy feet and legs | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

one pair has to last a lifetime

There are many causes of leg pain right from muscle cramps and inflammation of tendons to arthritis, varicose veins and nerve damage. Leg pain due to muscle strain following an injury or wearing tight shoes for a long time can be prevented by following few simple tips:

  1. Stretch the leg muscle: One of the most effective ways to prevent leg pain due to a sudden muscle twist or cramp is to stretch the muscle. This not only improves blood flow to the injured muscle but it also helps in reducing muscle tension thereby relieving muscle soreness.
  2. Take a warm shower: If you suffer from leg pain, then take a warm shower to relax the muscles. If taking a bath is not feasible, then placing a heating pad on the affected areas can also help. A heat pack works best if the pain is due to a previous injury as it not only relaxes blood vessels but also improves blood circulation, alleviating leg pain.
  3. Wear a proper fitting athletic shoe: Most people fail to choose the right fitting shoe, which is one of the common causes of leg and heel pain. To get the right fit, determine the shape of your foot using the ‘wet test’. For this, step out of the shower onto a surface that will show your footprint, like a brown paper bag. If you have a flat foot, you will see an impression of your whole foot on the paper. If you have a high arch, you will only see the ball and heel of your foot. When shopping, look for athletic shoes that match your particular foot pattern.
  4. Choose the right sports shoe: Not many people are aware that different types of shoes are specially designed to meet your sports requirement. Did you know running long distances in court-style sneakers can contribute to shin splints? It is important to choose the shoes according to your sport or fitness routine.
  5. Go slow if you are a beginner at the gym: One of the common mistakes that most people commit is to overexert on the first day of the gym, which not only exerts pressure on the knee but also causes muscle soreness and leg pain. The key to preventing leg pain and sticking to your workout routine is to build your fitness level slowly. You can start off with less strenuous workouts and then gradually increase the duration, intensity, and frequency of your exercise regimen.

For any foot problems, contact The Podiatrist.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

 

Shopping for School Shoes | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

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  1. To avoid in-store arguments, parents and children should discuss in advance the style and brand of shoes they want to look for.
  1. Remember that a good fit is more important than the size of the footwear. A good fit allows for a 1/2” of space between the end of the toes and the end of shoe. Shop at retailers who provide a fit specialist for extra assistance.
  1. Avoid hand-me-down shoes; improperly fitted shoes can support feet in unhealthy positions.

4. Avoid shopping online or estimating a child’s shoe size.

  1. Remember that not all shoes of the same size fit alike. While foot measurement is a starting point, how the shoes fit is more important.
  1. Match the shape of the shoe to the shape of the foot.
  1. Remember that while a low arch is normal in young children, in children older than age seven, the lower the arch the more important it is to have shoes with good support. Look for a firm heel counter and stiffness when trying to twist shoes lengthwise.
  2. If a child wears orthotics, select shoes with removable foot beds and try the shoes on with the orthotics in place.
  1. Remember that price is not necessarily commensurate with quality. If price is a consideration, last year’s models can offer all the features needed at a discounted price.
  1. Check the fit on your child’s shoes on a regular basis as children’s feet grow at irregular rates.

For more information, or if you have any questions, contact The Podiatrist

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

Keep those feet happy | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

foot-care

The importance of our feet has been understood for centuries. Even the Greek philosopher Socrates is reputed to have said, “To him whose feet hurt, everything hurts.” So, what comprises foot care that promotes comfort at any age?

  • Wear shoes and socks that fit and are comfortable.
  • Be sure your toes are not cramped.
  • Change socks daily and if possible have two pairs of shoes in everyday use so that you can alternate the pairs daily.
  • Elastic laces are handy if your feet swell.

Shoes should be worn that cover, protect, provide stability for the foot and minimize the chance of falls.

Whatever your age – student or grandparent – foot care is important.

  • Remember to cut or file your nails straight across and never shorter than the end of your toe.
  • If you are older, and particularly if you are diabetic, it is helpful to get The Podiatrist to do your foot care.
  • It is best to wash feet daily and always test the water’s temperature beforehand. Pat, do not rub, your feet dry and remember to dry between and under the toes. If your feet are bothering you you’ll find that short soaks of even ten minutes are soothing.
  • Use a lanolin (ointment base) moisturizing cream for dry and cracked skin. If your feet perspire, dust lightly with talcum powder. Remember to remove excess cream of powder from between your toes to avoid skin problems. If you are diabetic it is wise to examine your feet daily.
  • Exercise each day if possible. Walking is always good but there are also special foot exercises that can be done like rolling your feet over a rolling pin several times daily or picking up a crumpled towel with your toes.

Despite reasonable care throughout life, however, the older foot is subject to problems. Heredity is a factor as are the stresses over the years and complications from systemic diseases. It has been estimated that at least 80 percent of people over 50 have at least one foot problem.

The most common are corns and calluses, ingrown toenails, bunions, hammertoes, strained arches, heel pain and arthritis including gout.

In many cases there can be improvements jus by switching shoes to the type with wider, box-type toes. Also. shoe size can actually change with added years.

Feet carry our body’s weight, help hold us erect, co-ordinate and maintain balance in walking. We need to give them tender, loving and skilled care.

The returns are high, including the joy of a walk.

Make an appointment with The Podiatrist today.

www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

 

Happy Mother’s Day | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

mother's day

Lest we forget

anzac day 2016

Do you suffer from overuse injuries? | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

overuse injuries in sports

Overuse injuries are distinct from such commonplace trauma injuries as sprains, strains, broken bones and concussions. They are specific to the parts of the body most used during the athletic endeavour. These body areas can include the knees of athletes in sports that require running and jumping, such as basketball and soccer.

The overuse injury is caused by repetitive micro-trauma caused by chronic use of a specific body part, coupled with an inadequate time for rest and healing. But overuse injuries can be prevented if athletes and parents take precautions and familiarize themselves with the symptoms.

Don’t push through the pain. Young athletes should never be encouraged to “tough it out” and ignore pain. While pain may just be the sign of a sore, tired muscle, it can also be the first clue to an overuse injury. Players should stop and rest and gradually return to the activity, if the pain subsides. If it persists, see The Podiatrist.

Remember to rest. It’s under-rated, but rest is key to injury prevention and on-field success. The multi-tasking athlete who runs from school to practice to individualized training sessions, while still trying to keep up in school, needs to find time for eight hours of sleep and the occasional day off from the activity to stay injury-free.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water is best for hydration during athletic activities under an hour. Consider electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks for longer bouts of activity – more than an hour – and for repeated activity in the same day.

Encourage your children to engage in multiple sports and athletic activities. Not only do the kids learn different skills, but they also develop and work complementary muscle groups while resting others. It is suggested to forgo specialization in sports until adolescence or puberty.

While prevention techniques like stopping play and getting rest are keys to avoiding overuse injuries, ice is helpful when applied to the affected area 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Injuries occur in many patients early in the new season, when kids may try and do too much too soon. Be sure to increase practice and playing time gradually.

If you are suffering from an overuse injury, please give us a call at The Podiatrist
We are happy to answer any questions you may have.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz
http://www.kidsnmotion.co.nz

Kids- their feet and shoes | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

childrens orthoses are not like adults

If you have active kids, making sure they’re wearing the right shoes for what they’re doing, and for their own unique physique, can be as important and wearing their retainers or washing their faces.

  • One in three children who plays a team sport is injured seriously enough to miss practice or games.
  • Children’s bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing, making them more susceptible to injury.

When it comes to issues of our kids’ we need to know to keep them safe, and help them understand how to do things right.

A few things we can do, and remind them to do, include:

  • Kids should have at least one or two days off from any particular sport each week to avoid overuse injuries.
  • If you experience a foot or ankle injury while playing sports, early attention is key to preventing further damage. Always ice the injury, never use heat.
  • Choose footwear specific to your activity. Sneakers made for tennis players will provide different support and traction than cleats made for football players.
  • If you participate in a certain sport at least two to three times a week, you should wear a sport-specific shoe.
  • Go to a store that specializes in athletic shoes, or The Podiatrist for suggestions.
  • Be sure to have their feet measured every time you purchase new shoes, as feet size and shape can change (especially in kids) as we age.

For all your foot problems, visit The Podiatrist

www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

The Child’s foot | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

baby walking

When people have babies, they’re always warned about the “soft spot” on the head – that the skull bones haven’t fused enough to adequately cover the brain.

It’s such a well-known fact, most people don’t give it a second thought. But in reality, babies are born with nearly 100 bones that need to close and grow to create bones and joints.

Some of those bones are in the feet, and they make up your foot arch. Most people don’t realize it, but arches don’t develop until around the age of 6, after walking, standing and other activities have strengthened the bones and cartilage.

Before that, babies and toddlers have a stage of development called flexible flat feet. This is characterized by the presence of arches when children are sitting or standing on their toes, but the arch disappears when they put weight on their feet.

Flexible flat feet are normal, and for 80-90 percent of children, they’re temporary. However, for a smaller portion of the population, arches never develop, which is a condition called pediatric flat feet.

Quality of life

Some children with flat feet are able to accommodate their condition quite well. These cases – called asymptomatic flat feet – will likely never require treatment.

However, if children develop pain, tenderness or cramping in the feet, legs and knees, or if they find difficulty walking, wearing shoes or participating in activities, they likely have symptomatic flat feet. In these cases, medical advice and treatment should be sought.

Getting help

The Podiatrist is well-versed in the bones and structure of children’s feet, and knows best how arches should develop and function.

When you first have an appointment, The Podiatrist will conduct a physical examination of the foot and will observe children standing, sitting and walking.

After diagnosis, treatment options can vary. Children with asymptomatic flat feet – when there’s no pain or difficulty walking – typically only need periodic checkups. Children with symptomatic flat feet, however, typically need intervention and additional care.

Treatment options

For most cases, non-surgical approaches are best, often starting with activity modification. This could mean cutting down on time playing sports or avoiding prolonged periods of standing.

To help children with their daily activities, a wide range of orthotic accessories – such as shoe inserts – are available.

The Podiatrist can also recommend styles and brands of shoes that can help ease flat feet. In some cases, custom orthotic devices can be created that support the structure of the foot and improve function.

Ongoing support measures can include physiotherapy, where children can work with a therapist on stretching exercises that provide relief for flat feet. Certain medications, ranging from ibuprofen to prescriptions, can also reduce pain and inflammation.

In general, pediatric flat feet are a relatively normal, treatable condition. If you have additional questions, or think your child may have flat feet, talk to The Podiatrist today.

For all your foot problems, visit The Podiatrist.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

Shoes for Kids | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

when is it a good time for children to start wearing shoes

I spend a lot of time talking to adults about feet and shoes, and the conversation naturally drifts onto their children’s shoes.

For years, we have been given advice from shoe manufacturers and retailers, coaches, friends, parents and grannies about the ‘right’ shoe for children.

Invariably, especially if you are of a certain age, you would have been told that solid, supportive shoes are best. However, that advice needs to be reviewed.

The human foot contains three arches, 26 bones, 33 joints, over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments and thousands of nerve endings, and can tolerate impacts more than three times greater than your body weight. When you walk and run, it is your foot that absorbs the impact, stops you from collapsing, and pushes you forwards. As Leonardo da Vinci said ‘the human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art’.

What are the differences between a young child’s foot and leg against your own? The next time you see a toddler, have a look at the shape of her feet. You’ll notice that they are almost triangular: narrow at the heel, and widest at the toes. Compare that to your own. I bet they are more diamond shaped, with the widest part across the base of your toes, narrowing in to the tips. Now think about the shape of your shoes, most shoes are widest at the base of the toes, narrowing to a point at the front.

Also, watch the way small children can squat, with their bum almost resting on their heels, and stay there for as long as they like. Try to do that yourself without lifting your heels, and chances are you’ll only make it halfway down, or fall backwards. What is the significance of this?

Well, most shoes these days have a heel, even kids shoes. In fact the heel in children’s shoes is, relatively speaking, much bigger than a heel in adults’ shoes. Think about it. A 2cm heel in a shoe that is only 15cm long creates a much bigger angle than in one that is 25cm. Just as if you were to wear high heels all day your calf muscles would get tight, so too will a child’s. Over-tight calf muscles stop you from being able to squat fully by reducing your ankle movement.

When you have a raised heel in your shoe, it pushes your toes hard into the toe-box. If that toe-box is narrow, the toes will get squashed together. What happens to women who wear high heels all the time? Bunions.

Now, did you know that the bones in your child’s feet don’t fully harden until their late teens? This means that over-tight shoes in childhood have the effect of deforming the shape of the foot from the outset.

Research has shown that shoes also affect the gait of children. With shoes, children walk faster by taking longer steps with greater ankle and knee movement, and less foot movement. When running, shoes encourage children to land on their heels and spend more time on the ground on each stride. Whilst not showing a definite cause, Harvard University research has shown that runners who land on their heels have twice the injury rate of runners who land on their forefoot.

A review of children’s shoes and gait, published in the journal Pediatrics outlined the following factors: optimum foot development happens while barefoot; stiff and compressive footwear may cause deformity, weakness and loss of mobility in the foot; the term ‘corrective shoes’ is a misnomer, and; shoe selection for children should be based on a barefoot model.

What does all this mean for parents when looking for shoes? Well, the roomier, flatter and more flexible, the better. Essentially, the closer the shoe is to not wearing shoes at all, the less it will affect your child’s foot development. Better still, around the house and when the weather is good enough, let them go barefoot: their feet will get stronger and they’ll love it!

For all your foot problems, visit The Podiatrist

www.thepodiatrist.co.nz