Best Orthotics for Children with Overpronation – Early Treatment Can Make a World of Difference!
Has your child been diagnosed with a foot condition and your medical professional recommends wearing a pair of orthotics but didn’t specify which one to get? Alternatively, if this is not the case, have you noticed something off with your child’s foot posture and walking gait but your medical professional brushed it off and told you that your child will eventually “grow out of it”? I am not a medical professional, but I have helped many children with foot problems find the correct pair of shoes and orthotics, and I strongly recommend parents to be proactive and not take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their child’s foot conditions.
If you are in a rush, you can go directly to the selection of the best orthotics for children with overpronation.
The Importance of Not Taking the “Wait and See Approach” – Be Proactive!
Parents need to understand that they a limited window of opportunity to make a significant change in their child’s foot structure and gait mechanics. I have noticed how some medical professionals recommend waiting until the child reaches the age of 6 or 7 to intervene. If you notice something wrong with your child’s walking gait or if your child is complaining about foot or leg pain you need to intervene as soon as possible. The earlier you take action, the easier it will be to manage the condition.
Furthermore, I strongly believe exceptional footwear and orthotics can change lives. What I have to offer you is my many years of experience trying and testing many different shoes and orthotics. I know which shoes and orthotics work best for children with overpronation from watching them walk and run to check whether they are walking straighter or not. While there is no such thing as a universal orthotic that works well for all children with overpronation, I have noticed that some orthotics are a lot more effective than others, and those are the ones I will describe shortly.
Over the years, I have fitted several different types of orthotics for children ranging from 3/4 and full length orthotics to leg braces such as SMOs and AFOs. I have fitted Cascade products such as Chipmunk orthotics, Crickets, PattiBobs, and Carbon fiber footplates. Below you can find a full list of the orthotics I have fitted before:
Does Your Child Age Matter When It Comes to Trying an Orthotic?
Most children don’t fully develop their aches until they reach the age of five, so while there is a chance that your child’s foot posture and walking gait might improve without any intervention, I prefer not playing the waiting game and trying to correct the issue from an early stage.
I get many emails from families of children under the age of five who need guidance on whether they should fit their children in supportive shoes and orthotics, and I also get many emails from families of children over the age of five who wish they have intervened earlier.
The question is, how flat are your child’s feet? Not all flat feet are the same. Genetics is also a very powerful factor. If you or the grandparents have a history of flat feet, then there is a higher chance that your child might remain flat footed.
If you need help determining the degree of your child’s flat feet I suggest that you take a look at another resource.
Orthotics Are Like Glasses for Your Child’s Feet
The main purposes of orthotics is to allow your child to function properly. I want to emphasize that if your child is for example flat footed, the orthotics won’t mold your child an arch. They will help improve your child’s foot posture, walking gait, and walking gait.
I always like to make the analogy that orthotics or even supportive shoes are like glasses for your child’s feet. When you have bad eyes you wear glasses, does it cure your eyes? No, but it makes you see better and you can function normally. Orthotics and supportive shoes are like glasses for your feet.
Do Children Need Custom Orthotics?
Custom-made orthotics are often the best choice because they are tailored to your child’s specific foot shape and overpronation severity. However, custom orthotics can range anywhere between $300 to $600. This can be very expensive for a child who might outgrow them every 5 to 6 months.
The orthotics that I recommend are the closest you will find to a custom orthotic in terms of effectiveness. The difference is that you will pay a much lower price.
Before and After Images of Children with Overpronation
Let’s take a look at a picture of a flat-footed child standing barefoot. Do you notice how the feet are collapsing and turning inwards?
Now let’s take a look at a picture of the same child standing in a pair of the orthotic inserts that I recommend. Do you notice how the child’s feet are a lot straighter? The orthotics are preventing the child’s feet from collapsing and straightening the child’s feet and legs, which might lead to an improvement in the child’s walking gait and overall posture.
What Makes the Orthotics that I Recommend Ideal for Children with Overpronation?
1️⃣ Deep Heel Cups: When a child has flat feet and overpronation you don’t only support the arch, you mechanically support the pieces of the foot that cause the foot to be flat, such as the heels. The orthotics that I recommend provide deep heel cups with targeted support right below the heels. Take a look at the images below for better visualization purposes:
2️⃣ Built-In Arch: The orthotics that I recommend can also aid align your child’s feet and prevent foot imbalances that might lead to your child putting extra tension along the plantar fascia. Take a look at the images below for better visualization purposes:
Best Orthotics for Children with Overpronation
The main reason why I recommend this orthotic is because it provides excellent arch and heel support, and at the same time is not as invasive as other orthotics. This means that this orthotic allows the child’s foot and leg muscles to develop on their own while supporting them.
Take a look at the chart below to figure out what size to order based on your child’s shoe size:
The Importance of Treating Your Child’s Overpronation from an Early Stage
Overpronation is going to produce a problem sometime in life. It might not be on the foot, it might be the knee, the hip, the back, all of the structure and joints above the feet depend on the feet!
We know if we can isolate the foot structure early enough, we can save a child from developing so many different conditions along the line.
What Role Do Shoes Play in Helping Treat and Prevent Overpronation?
A crucial role. There are only a few shoes that are compatible with your children’s orthotics and if you don’t choose the correct type of shoe you will decrease the efficiency of the orthotics. The shoes are the ones that connect the orthotic to the ground and if the shoe doesn’t offer the correct type of structure and support, the orthotics will not benefit your child as they are intended.
I have spoken with several medical professionals who are frustrated about children not wearing the correct type of shoes in the correct size. These doctors explain to me how they encounter many children with physical disabilities who wear shoes that don’t fit properly, which makes the condition harder to manage.
You don’t need to buy the most expensive shoes to keep your children’s feet healthy. However, it is important to note that usually the cheaper the shoe is, the less quality, thought, and care shoe companies put into that shoe.
Can Orthotics Make Your Child’s Feet and Legs Weaker?
No, all I recommend doing is giving the child structural support which is not going to take away from the musculature. We are not making the muscles weak. Why wait until the child gets older when misalignment may well be more severe.
Have you Been Told the Reason Your Child Complains is “Growing Pains?
Many families are told by their medical professionals how their children’s pain is a result of “growing pains”. Next time this happens to you, you should ask your child’s doctor why your child doesn’t have pain in his/her arms? The arms are growing as well, or in the neck, the teeth, etc. The reason is that it’s the foot that is causing the growing pains! Growing pains are not acceptable in kids with flat feet.
My Take on AFOs and SMOs – They Should Be Used as a Last Resort
While AFOs and SMOs can make a tremendous difference in a child’s walking gait and overall posture, most of the time they tend to spend more time in the closet than on the child’s feet. In addition, most families have such a hard time finding shoes that fit AFOs that they end up buying shoes that are overly big for their child’s feet. What help are the orthotics if the child ends up wearing shoes way too big and just tripping over them? This basically defeats one of the main purposes of wearing orthotics which is to improve the child’s stability.
Orthotics for children with overpronation can be helpful in providing support and stability to their feet. However, it’s important to consult with a pediatric podiatrist or orthopedic specialist who can properly assess your child’s condition and recommend the most suitable orthotic solution.
Have you noticed something wrong with your child’s walking gait or foot posture? Don’t overthink it. Keep it simple. Something so basic such as fitting your child in the correct pair of shoes and orthotics can make a world of difference when it comes to treating your child’s overpronation. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly via the comments section or via email.