Best Orthotics for Kids with Leg Pain – Improve Your Child’s Foot Posture and Walking Gait
Do you have a child who has been complaining about leg pain lately? Is your child refusing to participate in sports and activities that he/she used to enjoy? I have noticed that most children who suffer from leg pain are diagnosed with growing pains, but in some cases, that pain is associated with another condition such as flat feet or weak ankles. Let’s take a look at the best orthotics for kids with leg pain.
It’s important that you speak with your medical professional before assuming that your child’s leg pain is caused by “growing pains”. Did you know that there is no firm evidence that “growing pains” are linked to growth spurts?
Children who have foot problems such as flat feet or weak ankles are more likely to experience leg pain, as their walking gait is affected by these conditions. Everything is connected, which is why having a foot condition can cause so many problems all over the body.
As a matter of fact, the way that we walk affects the way the feet, legs, and back function. Wearing the correct types of shoes and orthotics is a great place to start for relieving foot and leg pain.
Pro Tip: If you’re pressed for time, you can go straight to the selection of the best orthotics for kids with leg pain.
Are Your Child’s Feet Causing Leg Pain?
I have seen how foot problems can affect your children’s entire body, from their legs to their back. Since the entire human body is connected, one imbalance can easily affect another part of the body.
For example, children with flat feet often walk on the sides of their feet or have balance issues, which can affect their walking gait and entire body over the years. The same applies to children who have weak ankles or really high arches.
If I notice that the child is dealing with a specific foot condition, I immediately suggest fitting the child in a pair of supportive shoes and depending on the degree of the child’s foot condition, orthotics as well.
Wearing supportive shoes and orthotics can help distribute your child’s weight evenly when the feet come in contact with the ground and encourages a stable gait, which helps improve the child’s overall posture.
What a Difference the Correct Types of Shoes and Orthotics Can Make!
Let’s take a look at an image of a child with flat feet who also has heel eversion. Do you notice how the child’s feet are collapsing and turning inwards?
Now let’s take a look at an image of the same child standing on a pair of the orthotics I recommend. Do you notice how the child’s feet are a lot straighter? The deep heel cup and medial and lateral flanges of the orthotics are aligning the child’s feet in the correct position:
Bear in mind that the orthotics need to be fitted inside the correct types of shoes for the child to get the full benefits that the orthotics have to offer.
It’s amazing the difference that the correct types of shoes and orthotics can make in improving the child’s foot posture and walking gait.
Let’s take a look at another example of a before and after image of a child with poor foot posture standing barefoot and wearing a pair of supportive shoes.
Something so simple as providing your child with the correct types of orthotics and shoes can make a world of difference helping improve your child’s foot posture and walking gait!
What Makes the Orthotics I Recommend Ideal for Children with Foot Issues?
The orthotics I recommend are ideal for children with foot conditions such as flat feet and weak ankles because of the 2 features that they provide:
1️⃣ The orthotic I recommend provides a deep heel cup that helps control the alignment of the heel and lower leg:
2️⃣ The orthotic I recommend provides medial and lateral flanges to help keep the foot aligned over the orthotic:
I have fitted all certain different types of orthotics from full to quarter length to AFOs and SMOs, and littleSTEPS orthotics have been the most effective ones in helping significantly reduce, or fully eliminate foot or leg pain.
I also want to point out that orthotics don’t make the child’s muscles “lazy” or “weaker”. They simply provide the child with structural support which is not going to take away from the musculature. This means that an orthotic allows the child’s foot and leg muscles to develop on their own while supporting them.
Best Orthotics for Kids with Leg Pain
Take a look at the chart below to figure out what size to order based on your child’s shoe size:
You need to know your child’s exact shoe size to figure out what orthotic size you need to order. Do not hesitate to contact me via email if you are unsure about what orthotic size you should order:
What Shoes are Best for Children Who Wear Orthotics?
Orthotics don’t work in all types of shoes. The shoes I recommend for children who wear orthotics are the ones that provide:
1️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: This feature is going to support your child’s feet, improve foot posture, and hold the orthotic in place.
2️⃣ Firm Heel Counters: This is the back part of the shoe that provides heel and ankle support.
3️⃣ Extra Depth: This feature allows the orthotics to sit deeply inside the shoes, which helps prevent giving children the impression that their feet are coming out of the shoes.
You won’t have to remove the original insoles of your child’s shoes before placing this orthotic inside the shoes.
What Are the Best Shoes for Children Who Wear Orthotics?
If you want to see a selection of the best shoes for children who wear orthotics I suggest that you take a look at another post.
Many therapists get frustrated when children wear shoes that don’t fit properly, as that makes the condition harder to manage. I am always emphasizing the importance of providing children with the correct shoe size, as that is the only way that they will get the full benefits that the shoes and orthotics have to offer.
How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Shoe Size – In 2 Simple Steps!
It doesn’t matter how supportive the shoes and orthotics are, if your child wears the shoes in the wrong size he/she won’t get the full benefits that the orthotics have to offer.
I understand it’s challenging for parents to have their children properly fitted for shoes, as most shoe stores have been going out of business.
COVID-19 has accelerated this movement towards online shopping and stores closing, leaving many parents confused, as it might be harder to shop for children’s shoes online.
I came up with a free resource that helps those families who don’t have a specialized children’s shoe store in their area retrieve their child’s exact foot length, width, and instep height.
When Should Parents Worry About Their Child’s Leg Pain?
If your child’s leg pain is moderate to severe, then I suggest taking your child to your medical professional. Moderate to severe leg pain means that the pain keeps your child from doing some or most normal activities.
It’s important to note that growing pains are almost always felt in both legs. Pain that is only in one leg may be a sign of a more serious condition.
Final Thoughts on Children with Leg Pain
Growing pains may be a result of children running, jumping, and climbing while playing, but don’t assume that your child’s leg pain is due to growing pains.
Joint pains in children can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Take your child to your medical professional to make sure that your child is not dealing with a specific foot condition that is affecting the legs. If your child has a foot condition such as flat feet or weak ankles, I suggest being proactive, as all of the structures and joints above the feet depend on the feet.
Let me know in the comment section below if you have found a specific pair of shoes and/or orthotics that has been effective in helping treat your child’s leg pain. I am sure other families will benefit from learning about your experiences.