Does it matter if your kids lower limb looks different?

 

Short answer: No but it’s a little more complicated than that.

 

Long answer: below.

 

This is a common question we get asked in the clinic all the time. Children develop their bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles all the way up until the age of 14 depending on if they are female or male. Females reach this point earlier between the ages of 11-13.

 

Over the course of the adolescent and toddler life, the whole body is forever undergoing change. Different parts of the body change at different times without following any linear progression. For example, the foot and hip change angles and ranges at different times resulting in the position of the knee looking different to what people would consider ‘normal’. This also differs between individuals. We may have a general idea on when segments of the body change, but we don’t have any parameters set it stone. The lower limb is a long and complex kinetic chain that has multiple segments. These segments will differ in their rate of change between people. For example, the talus bone (foot bone) may rotate an extra 5 degrees in one person compared someone else. As a result, this may mean that the foot looks somewhat more ‘rolled in’. This can worry parents, teachers, and family members because it looks outside the ‘normal’. However, good news. These anatomical variances are completely normal and don’t increase the risk of developing pain later in life. There are plenty of active and healthy kids that have flat and higher arched feet. Even if there was an indication to treat these feet, there is no way (apart from surgery) that we could ever dream of changing them. They are how they are! The best treatment is to focus on engaging in physical activity and plenty of movement. There are cases where this foot position or type can increase the rehab time as there may be more stress on the area. For example, if someone has a high arch and they hurt the outside of their foot playing sport, the body already puts more stress on the outside so it may increase the time it takes to get better. This would in comparison to someone who has a more neutral foot type.

So.. overall, it doesn’t matter to much and it isn’t something we can change. There are times where it might be a factor, but this is only small. It's best to focus on physical activity and keeping moving.

If you are concerned by the movement or look of your child's lower limb or foot posture. Please make an appointment.

By our Newcastle Podiatrist Blake.