Children from infancy till their series of growth spurts are natural active “little monkeys” (I like to call my little daughter Erin that), they are quick to learn, extremely attentive and are constantly curious. From their first roll, crawl, step, run, jump and skip we can notice their growth in strength and stature of their feet and lower limbs.
Unfortunately, there will be children who won’t be able to keep up with other children as they play nor will they be able to maintain balance while they stand. There will be various grades of dysfunction, from mild to severe and unfortunately most parents often disregard it which may harm their growth into adulthood.
“6 Year old Amanda”
I met Amanda and her parents when they presented to the Bankstown Clinic Easter time last year. The parents were ‘ordered’ by their GP to see me as they didn’t believe that their daughter Amanda had a foot issue.
They told me whenever they went shopping as a family, Amanda would be extremely clingy and needy which lead to the father shouting at her. During the 2014 Royal Easter Show, the family went with friends and it wasn’t even 1‐2 hours before Amanda wanted to be picked up and carried, cause she kept crying and complaining about her feet. Amanda’s parents called her a faker, a pretender and mocked her in front of the accompanying friends. I was listening to this recount and I could tell Amanda appeared disappointed that she may have actually faked it!
So I started my first assessment which was a combination of muscle flexibility and tightness and I knew straight away. I explained to the parents that a paediatric flat foot was a serious issue and I showed them pictures and videos of the mobility of a “flatfooted child”. They were shocked to see flat feet and the complications of it. They were absolutely speechless and dumb‐founded when they saw the way Amanda walked, with a ‘duck‐foot’ gait, nil signs of a supported arch and the associated knock knees.
Fortunately, Amanda did not require surgery, thankfully.
I advised that Amanda and her parents had to:
- Wear proper footwear inside and • outside the home
- Complete my demonstrated exercises and stretches
- Apply orthotic therapy to correct Amanda’s biomechanical abnormality.
Amanda has since been wearing orthotics to give her the support she needed. Amanda is now presenting to the clinic every 6‐8 weeks for rehab work.. She has since conquered a school excursion to Luna Park and has conquered 2015 Royal Easter Show.
We must, as adults ensure that our children are able to walk to their full potential and not been ‘stumbling’ or have clumsy gait.
We don’t walk on hands, nor do we walk on our beautifully cut, blow dried hair. We walk on our feet and the poor body parts have to deal with our body weight, walking surface and crazy shoes. They hardly complain, the feet. Our bodies work hard to endure “life” but our feet are usually playing second fiddle to the rest of our body parts.
With children, it is absolutely vital that a growing body be built on strong lower limb and foot foundations. Just like building a house or any structure, it must have solid foundations to hold the elongated parts still and supported. This is the same for children.
Don’t delay. The more the child ambulates with the incorrect foot posture, then the foot and lower limb posture and walking behaviour becomes a habit.