Taking your Child to a Podiatrist

Podiatrists who specialise in dealing with the lower limb troubles of young children and adolescents are referred to as podopaediatricians. These are professionals who have gained additional qualifications and specialised in the field of delivering care to young children. This care provision is readily available in most parts of the UK through the NHS, and in this article we look at circumstances in which it may be advisable to seek the advice of a podiatrist, and how you would go about that.

A child’s gait and causes for concern

Gait is the term used to describe how a person walks, and it is particularly important for young children as an abnormal gait can cause long term issues with their mobility. When most young children begin to walk, their first steps will be awkward and uncertain. In the vast majority of cases, these children will place their feet at unusual angles when taking their first few steps.

Children who angle their feet inwards are described as in-toeing (or pigeon toeing), while those who angle their feet outwards are out-toeing. These are two extremely common features of a young person’s first walks, and in the vast majority of cases, given time and practice, they will adjust their feet and begin to walk with a clearly normal gait.

If a child’s gait has not corrected itself by the time they are 3, then it may be worth consulting your doctor about their feet. Similarly, if your child is in pain when walking, or showing a clear limp, you should speak to your doctor about these symptoms. In these cases your doctor will assess the difficulties your child is facing and often suggest an appointment with a podiatrist that will hopefully correct your child’s walk.

Similarly if you notice anything distinctively unusual about their walk, like one foot turning out more dramatically than the other, or if you have observed other developmental problems, then you should speak to your doctor as there might be an underlying cause affecting your child’s development. In these cases speaking to your doctor will, if nothing else, put your mind at ease.

If a child possesses a congenital abnormality (one present from birth) then chances are it will be picked up on at the hospital during post-childbirth exams. In these cases your doctor or nurse will talk to you about the abnormality, what you can expect, and what steps you can take to treating it and when. Common examples of these congenital conditions are clubfoot and flat foot, both of which hugely benefit from podiatric care.

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