You can think of foot structure like those curious structures called cairns. These are those artful columns of rocks you might find in parks and remote areas. I would like to think they are stacked by talented people but I will not rule out wizards or aliens –just saying. There is an optimal way a cairn must be built to stand the test of time and not topple over. Cairns stand a better chance on a flat surface that is vertical and true. But if you try building on the side of a hill (or feet roll inward), the structure will not have a stable foundation. Gravity will cause problems- it will make the foot and the Cairn collapse.
The foot 2 bones that are most effected by gravity are the heel bone (calcaneus) and the talus. They are stacked on top of each other like a Cairn. Besides gravity, time is a major part of the flat foot formula. The earlier such problems are discovered, the better the chance we’ll have of putting things back into proper shape.
Treating Abnormalities in Your Child’s Foot Structure
If a structural problems is identified in your child’s feet early the softness and pliability in the bones can actually work in our favor. We are looking for flat feet, out-toeing, in-toeing clubfoot.
The sooner we can begin to influence a child’s foot, the more accepting the structures will be to that change. This typically includes the use of custom orthotics, specific shoes, or flexibility exercises. For some more severe conditions such as clubfoot, a series of casts may be recommended instead.
The end goal of all these treatments is the same. We want the foot and ankle in a good position so the structure develop in that position. This will produce a stable and functioning adult foot. The endpoint of influencing bone growth is 12-13 years for boys and 11-12 for girls.
Take a Look Into the Future
Keep in mind that not all structural abnormalities are the results of early walking. Some problems are genetic in nature. Your children may not fall far from the family tree.
These issues can be addressed via the methods mentioned above. Early detection remains key. One place to look is at your own foot and ankle history – as well as those of your parents and others in your family.
You may well know the effects of structural abnormalities after decades of activity. But if we can find those problems now, we can lessen the impact on the little ones’ lives through their adulthood.
As a bonus, the happier your children’s feet are now, the more active they are prone to be. This can also help prevent health problems from developing later on.
So When Should a Child Start Walking, Anyway?
The simple answer is: when they want to.
You do not have to fear that your child will be “left behind” other kids. Some start walking a little later than others, and that’s perfectly fine. Trying to force the issue does not help at all.
WARNING WARNING WARNING
One thing to especially avoid is the use of baby walkers and jumpers. They hold child upright, either rolling around or bouncing in place. Every push your child makes in one of these can causing or exacerbating structural problems. The rolling variety can also be deadly near stairs. They are such a threat that the have been outlawed in Canada. Here is a link to the NBC story about the dangers.