Children’s Feet Health: Does my child need insoles?
Are insoles for kids needed? There are many factors to consider.
Children’s feet develop rapidly. In a tropical climate and a fast-paced society, we often find children wearing the wrong shoes - flip flops and soft canvas shoes. These are unhealthy styles for certain foot types, causing growing feet to develop away from the ideal. These shoe styles allow the feet to “pronate”, “claw at the toes” and “overuse” the lower leg muscles.
Singaporean children are at risk for a number of paediatric foot problems due to footwear choice, environment, and genetic predisposition to hypermobility.
Ideal foot structure is traditionally conveyed as one with a pronounced arch, but if your child’s bones are not positioned in a way to have a moderate to high arch then you shouldn’t be looking to create an arch. Low-arch feet are still functional and correct for a child, if that is natural and not causing pain. The arch height correlates with the build of the overall body, and parents should only look to optimize a child’s gait rather than change a child’s foot shape arbitrarily.
Insoles for kids? Let's talk about it
Before you fit your child with corrective insoles for kids (called orthotics) you should have their feet, legs, spine and gait thoroughly checked by a specialist. Podiatrists and paediatric orthopaedic doctors are the specialists for feet and gait problems.
Orthotics are beneficial to most foot types as they help feet function more efficiently, but there needs to be a correlation between the orthotics prescribed and the presenting foot concerns; a clear reason connecting the orthotics to the long-term treatment goal.
Shoe companies design shoes with the inside flat, so as to not limit their market; to design a shoe with an artificial arch may feel uncomfortable for many customers. Therefore, shoes do not correlate with anyone’s foot shape, by design. The shoe is not bad per se; it just lacks the function needed for less-than-ideal foot shapes.
Orthotics therapy goes hand-in-hand with good footwear, as well as physiotherapy or occupational therapy. This holistic approach and rehabilitative setting is needed to acquire desired results.
In conclusion, orthotics are beneficial for many foot types but there should be a clear guided vision as to why your child is using them. If the child only needs a little extra padding and support, then mild insoles for kids may be sufficient.