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Why Do Children’s Orthotics Fail?

Children’s orthotics are often prescribed to treat a variety of foot conditions, particularly Sever’s disease, and gait abnormalities.

What Are Orthotics?

Orthotics are inserted into the child’s shoe to help treat a particular condition. Your pediatric podiatrist may prescribe them to address heel pain caused by Sever’s disease, treat toe walking, or correct a gait abnormality.

There are two main types of children’s orthotics. Custom orthotics are designed specifically for your child’s foot. While these are extremely effective, Dr. Jarman may suggest over-the-counter orthotics first. This option is particularly valuable for patients whose insurance does not cover prescription orthotics.

Why Do Orthotics Sometimes Fail?

As with many facets of medicine, orthotics don’t always achieve the desired result. There are a variety of reasons this may happen. These include:

1. Growing feet

Big feet small shoesIn the same way, your child seems to grow 3″ the day after you buy their back-to-school clothes, their feet seem to grow just after fitting them for orthotics.
It may come as a surprise, but kids really do experience growth spurts. This may cause a previously well-fitted orthotic to be too short or too wide. And when it comes to effectiveness, a proper fit is vital.

2. Using the wrong shoe type

Orthotics are usually designed to be worn with a particular shoe type. If you aren’t sure, talk to your podiatrist. The same insole that works with your child’s sneakers won’t necessarily work for more formal footwear.

3. Not wearing socks

Your child needs to wear some sort of socks or stockings with their prescribed shoe inserts.

4. The shoe already has arch supports

PFA fitting a child with orthoticsIt is extremely common for shoe manufacturers to include arch supports in their designs. When you get the orthotic from your podiatrist, ask about proper placement of the insert.

5. The orthotic isn’t comfortable

Although it may take a few days – or even a few weeks – for the orthotic to feel comfortable, they shouldn’t be painful. Talk to your doctor if there’s an issue.

6. Keep orthotics dry and avoid prolonged heat exposure

Water may warp an orthotic’s shape. Do you best to keep them dry? If they do get wet, let them air dry as heat may also cause warping. If you want to wash them, use lukewarm water and mild soap. Then, wipe them with a paper towel and allow to dry thoroughly before using them again.

Talk to Your Podiatrist

If you have questions about your child’s orthotics, talk to your podiatrist. If your child has Sever’s disease or any other foot issue, call (480) 534-7220 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jarman.

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All content on PediatricFootAnkle.com is written by or collaborated with Dr. Mikkel Jarman and meets our strict editorial guidelines which include fact checking and peer review.

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