If you have ever been at the mall with your child who, after a very short distance asks: “mommy - will you carry me?”, or, being older, claims: “mommy my feet and legs are tired”, or perhaps when older still, your child wakes up at night with cramped legs and needs a massage to permit sleep again, you are not facing growing pains. There is a foot problem.
The foot problem is called pronation. The feet look perfectly normal (with a good arch) when there is no weight on them, but as soon as the owner’s full weight is on them, the feet completely collapse to the inside.
The bad news is that such feet will never change: they will always pronate. The good news is that, with a little help, the feet's owner will never have tired feet or cramping legs again.
What is that help? It is called an orthotic device. The device is manufactured from a plaster mould made by a podiatrist. The effect of wearing the device is usually quite dramatic: tiredness and cramping disappear within the first few weeks.
Unlike shoes, orthotic devices last about two years unless a child has an extremely rapid growth spurt. It is important that children wear the orthotic devices through their growth years.
Many adults in my podiatry practice not only wear orthotics for daily wear, but also for golf, skiing, tennis, you name it.
However, children do tend to lose orthotic devices. I once had a child come to my office who told me a lion ate his orthotic device. Apparently he had been at the zoo and the small bag with his shoes and orthotics were forgotten outside the lion’s cage. When he returned some time later, the shoes and orthotics were gone. He naturally assumed this had been the lion’s lunch and who am I to say differently?