Step­ping Ahead:

Bundaberg Style - - FRONT PAGE - ALEX BRAMLEY, PRIN­CI­PAL PODIATRIST HIN­KLER PO­DI­A­TRY

Hin­kler Po­di­a­try con­tin­ues to pro­vide real op­tions for foot health for all ages.

CHIL­DREN are dy­namic, in­spir­ing and fear­less.

Ev­ery­day there is a new dis­cov­ery and a new mile­stone achieved.

Dur­ing this dy­namic phase, a child’s feet, legs and walk­ing style also de­velop and change very quickly.

It can of­ten be dif­fi­cult for a par­ent to know what is nor­mal and what needs at­ten­tion.

When it comes to walk­ing, most chil­dren will de­velop at their own pace.

Af­ter be­ing able to pull them­selves up and fur­ni­ture walk, gen­er­ally chil­dren will start to walk around 10-12 months of age, although for some, it may be ear­lier.

As the bones in the foot are still de­vel­op­ing, there is no ben­e­fit in try­ing to ex­pe­dite this tran­si­tion. Ini­tially, the steps will be wide and un­steady with arms held high and head tilted for­ward.

Chil­dren then gain more strength and bal­ance and a dis­tinc­tive gait pat­tern can start to emerge. Flat feet, toe walk­ing, in­toe­ing and fre­quent fall­ing can be signs that fur­ther pro­fes­sional ad­vice and as­sess­ment would be ben­e­fi­cial.

Many adult foot is­sues can be­gin in child­hood, mak­ing early in­ter­ven­tion ad­vis­able.

It is at this stage that many par­ents be­come aware of a child hav­ing flat feet.

In most cases, flat feet are com­mon in very young chil­dren due to the pres­ence of a nor­mal de­vel­op­men­tal fat pad and the lack of bone de­vel­op­ment.

Flat feet, fallen arches and rolled in an­kles can be nor­mal, how­ever pain should al­ways be in­ves­ti­gated. Chil­dren have dif­fer­ent per­cep­tions of pain or may not have lan­guage skills to ar­tic­u­late a prob­lem. Chil­dren who com­plain of tired legs, who fall fre­quently, who dis­like walk­ing for ex­tended pe­ri­ods (pre­fer­ring to ride in a trol­ley or sit in a pram) or who dis­like par­tic­i­pat­ing in ac­tive play may ben­e­fit from a pro­fes­sional as­sess­ment.

Older chil­dren can de­velop heel pain as­so­ci­ated with bone growth called Sever’s dis­ease.

This is a con­di­tion com­monly seen in chil­dren be­tween the ages of 8-13 where pain is present in the back of the heel bone (usu­ally both feet) which is made worse with ac­tiv­ity.

Sever’s can be quite painful for the child how­ever the con­di­tion is usu­ally eas­ily man­aged with heel raises and strap­ping.

High arches in a child, too lit­tle move­ment in a joint or a loss of mo­tion in the foot and an­kle is not nor­mal and should be as­sessed.

Chil­dren of school age will ben­e­fit from shoes which have a sup­port­ive heel, flex­i­ble fore­foot, se­cure to the foot with laces or Vel­cro and have suf­fi­cient width and depth.

To cel­e­brate Foot Health Month, Hin­kler Po­di­a­try will be of­fer­ing No Gap Chil­dren’s Foot Checks (for el­i­gi­ble Health Fund mem­bers), from the start of the school hol­i­days though to the end of Oc­to­ber.

Phone Hin­kler Po­di­a­try for more in­for­ma­tion or to make an ap­point­ment.

Re­mem­ber their lit­tle feet have to walk them through life.

CON­TENTS

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PHOTO: MIKE KNOTT

Hin­kler Po­di­a­try prin­ci­pal podiatrist Alex Bramley checks the feet of Zali from Thabeban Lit­tle Athletics.

PHOTO: MIKE KNOTT

Hin­kler Po­di­a­try podiatrist Gina MacPher­son is happy to rec­om­mend ways for par­ents to help their chil­dren’s feet

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