Sam is 10-years-old. He’s a great kid who loves being active, but there’s a problem and it’s getting worse. Sam plays football in winter and, in summer, he’s a cricket fanatic. Apart from these regular sports he’s running about at school and is, yes your average Aussie kid!
Sam’s mum and dad brought him into A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care because, despite being a very happy and active kid, Sam is waking up a couple of nights a week with pain in his lower legs. When he wakes he wants his mum to rub his legs because they ache and are sore. Sam’s mum Beth has used heat packs and paracetamol which does take the pain away after a while but, as Beth says, “They aren’t fixing the cause”.
A key factor is that fact Sam’s parents recognised that the pain sometimes came on in the night after Sam had quite active days, like sports days or family activities with lots of walking.
Visiting the GP, Physio and Dr Google
Sam’s parents took their son to a GP who sent them to see a Physiotherapist. While the physio was nice and showed Sam some stretching and did a couple of massages, these again helped at the time but didn’t stop the problem from coming back. After chatting to the GP their opinion was that this was “Just growing pains”—something Sam would have to get used to, and that he would simply “Grow out of it”. Frustrated with a fantastic but upset little boy, Sam’s parents felt they needed another opinion.
Sam’s mum Beth jumped onto Dr Google and found herself even more confused. Some parents were recommending vitamin supplements, others recommended oils and others suggested all kinds of home remedies. She then found herself on Facebook asking other parents for help. This is where a friend of Beth’s recommended our practitioners at A Step Ahead Foot and Ankle Care.
Finally some answers
When our practitioners assessed Sam it became pretty clear there was more than just some kind of phantom pain going on. We undertook a detailed walk and run assessment, along with some measurements and testing on Sam’s muscles. Nothing was invasive and everything we do is done in a fun, friendly and non-confronting environment. After a short while we established that Sam’s feet were rolling in a lot and his arches where a little flat. In essence Sam had pretty poor foot posture. What this meant is that the muscles in Sam’s lower legs were over working to try and give his poor foot posture support.
This meant that a big day on his feet, like a family outing, a busy day at school or doing sports caused his muscles to work even harder. This led to them getting sore, not necessarily at the time of the injury, mostly at night several hours after the muscles had rested.
Helping fight “growing pains”
To help Sam we gave him a custom-made pair of orthotic insoles. These are made from a soft material so are very comfortable to wear but provided support for the rolling of his ankle. We took a 3D scan of Sam’s foot and video recorded his walking patterns using our specialised assessment software. The orthotics are then designed using our computer-aided design software. Next step is to make the orthotics, which is done in our on-site Orthotic laboratory by our technicians and overseen by our podiatrist.
After fitting his new orthotics into a new pair of runners that we recommended, Sam headed on his way feeling comfortable to return in a couple of weeks. We prescribed some stretching to work with his orthoses and suggested that we may need to follow this up with a specialised massage to relax his muscles as his orthoses took over and began doing their job.
A couple of weeks later a very relieved set of parents and Sam returned to our clinic. In a little over two weeks the orthoses had started to do their thing. Sam had only had pain in his legs once since starting to wear his orthoses and this was after a very big day, his school athletics carnival! After only a couple of weeks we expected this to decrease so we asked them to return in another month at which time they reported Sam to be pain free!! Sam’s parents also reported that he was much more comfortable at sport as well. They were overjoyed; they had their happy, healthy little boy back!
Growing pains ARE TREATABLE in most cases. While many well-meaning health practitioners may say you have to wait and outgrow growing pains, there are alternatives. Our practitioners have had the pleasure of helping many kids with this same problem. It’s what we love to do! Helping kids become pain free, happy, healthy and active is a privilege. If you would like to help your little one to become pain free, please give our helpful reception team a call on +61 9673 2987 or 4732 2007. You can also see find us on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/podiatristsydney
Is growing really responsible for your little one’s discomfort?
So, your little one is having a tough time and, therefore, so are you! There’s something not quite right but you just can’t put your finger on it.
Perhaps they seem clumsy, or they trip and fall a little more than their friends of the same age. Maybe they don’t want to walk distances. Perhaps it appears they tire out more than the other kids. Sound familiar?
One of the most frustrating things for a parent or carer is having a child that, for no know apparent reason, wakes at night with pain in their feet legs and lower limbs. Often they’ll be in tears with pain. You’ve tried massaging them, or heat packs. You may have tried Panadol and Nurofen.
What you need is answers!
You head to the GP to tell them the things you’ve noticed. Frustratingly you’re told, “they will grow out of it” or…
“it’s growing pains” or…
“All kids get that” or …
“There’s nothing that you can do” or…
“Oh, it’s completely normal”
Whaaaaaat – You scream!!!
Well we don’t think it’s normal and there is something you can do!
All of the above are classic symptoms we see and recognise as signs your child has foot and lower limb posture problems, and this most certainly CAN be treated.
Getting rid of your child’s pain
We see hundreds of kids who present with their parents with very similar complaints each and every year. Frustrated parents with children who are looking for answers.
One of the most rewarding things about being a practitioner is getting these kids back to health, activity and pain free! To do this we start by running through a detailed history. We examine walking, standing and posture.
We will then recommend treatment aimed at stopping the pain and making your child comfortable (and happy!) again. We provide useful suggestions around footwear, prescribe therapies like massage or orthotics alongside possibly stretching and muscle strength exercises – all aimed at kids and designed to be kid friendly!
Results that make you smile!
There is nothing better than seeing a once uncomfortable child who woke at night crying sitting in your office with a big smile! With parents who have equally enormous smiles!
Parents get to see their once-clumsy-child running around without as many grazed knees. Many mums feel relieved that they no longer have to continuously pick up their child or push them endlessly in the pram because they can now walk distances complaint free!
As a clinic we see numerous kids each week, and we LOVE it! There is little greater than knowing you’ve made someone else’s life just a little bit better. It’s quite addictive.
In an age where we find ourselves complaining that our kids need to “get outside and play more” or we’re constantly saying “put your device down” it’s important that we make certain that they have the ability to be active – without pain.
Too many times we have meet frustrated parents and upset kids who come into our office after being told there is nothing they can do only to find they could have been making things better weeks months or even years earlier!
Is this sounds all too familiar, we’d like to help. Perhaps this is something that a friend or relative may benefit from. If that’s the case we’d love you to share it with them so they can find relief!
A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care is based in Western Sydney. We have multiple practitioners with loads of experience treating kids! Its our passion!
If you’d like more information please contact our helpful front desk team. They are brilliant at working through what help you need, guiding you to the appointment that is right for your family, running through costings and then reserving your appointment time. Call us today on +61 2 9673 2987 we look forward to helping.
Have you checked out our page dedicated to kids’ foot problems? Click here for more information.
Got a question? Visit us on instagram #AskDrFoot
He’s just not as fast as the other kids, and limps a little after games! I thought it would just go away but it seems to be getting worse
Ashley came to see us after a frustrating 4 weeks of Heel Pain for mum and daughter alike. Stretching and Rest had been prescribed by her physio, but to no effect! The GP said ice, but It just wasn’t getting better and Ash didn’t want to loose her spot in the team. Our telephone rang and on the end of the phone was an incredibly frustrated mum. Kristy our superstar behind the desk made some room in our appointment book and we got Ashley in to our clinic.
Week one was a biomechanics and gait assessment (Walk run and standing assessment) by the team, (Yes we work as a team!!) gathering as much data (Info) about Ash’s foot, her walking and running style and her muscle profiles. We took a 3D laser scan of her feet and moved her out of her old slip on casual shoes, into some newly minted Asics Nimbus, giving her support and cushioning in every step.
Wow what a difference a week makes! We had a beaming Ashley walk into our clinic with a noticeable spring in her step!
Kids heel pain is most commonly an inflammation at the growth plate at the back of the heel, or underneath the foot at the insertion of the fascia. In Ashley’s case, it was the backs of her heels at the insertion point of the Achilles Tendon.
We started our course of soft tissue rehabilitation, which included a series of deep tissue massage, and some manual stretching and mobilisation of the foot and ankle joint.
Ashley’s muscles in the backs of her legs were incredibly tight, playing tons of sport and not warming up before and stretching after will do that to you! So we put in place a series of really simple and quick stretches and exercises for Ashley to do on the court before and after her games and trainings. It wasn’t easy to change her habits but after she saw improvement in her pain, she stuck to the plan. Mum and Dad even got in on the act! A fit happy healthy family!
Four further weeks of manual therapy, custom made orthotic intervention and a tailored return to sport program (plus some stern words about her shoes) and Ashley was back full time on the court. Why is this? An accurate diagnosis, more than one modality of treatment (Soft tissue rehabilitation) and a girl that really really wanted to get better!
Exercise induced heel pain in young athletes is an all too common thing, but 100% treatable! An assessment from your Penrith Sports Podiatrist will have your young star back on the footy field or netball court in no time.
We have been seeing kids like yours for many years! In fact we see children just like yours from all over Sydney, from the Eastern suburbs to North shore, from as far as western NSW to Wollongong. We would love to help keep families Happy Healthy and Active! If you would like our help getting there please call us on 96732987 or 47322007
A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care Team
Penrith , St Marys
and coming soon to a suburb near you.
His brother has very flat feet and wears orthotics, so I thought I’d get him checked too. He doesn’t get any pain though. I hope that’s okay that I’ve brought him in?
You wouldn’t believe the number of parents I see who are almost embarrassed to have made an appointment for their little one because they’re not sure if they should have.
After chatting to them about why they are uncertain, the most common thoughts floating through a parent’s minds tend to be:
• Is he too young to come in for an appointment? I’m not sure what a good age for this is.
• He doesn’t actually get any pain so I’m not sure if I need to have him looked at?
• I think I might be over-thinking this because it’s only a small thing I’ve noticed!
• This might just be a normal part of her growing, I’m just not sure what’s normal!
These are all very valid thoughts and concerns, and are completely NORMAL!
Unless you’ve undertaken a 4-year podiatry degree and then had at least a few years on top of that working particularly with kids, then there’s not a single person in this world that can expect you to know what is and isn’t normal and when to bring your little one in.
That’s PERFECTLY okay – we’ve taken care of that hard “qualification” stuff for you!
Let me quickly clear up a few of the burning questions:
1. There is NO such thing as too young. We see kids as early as 12 months old – from the moment that they start walking! You’re actually doing us a favour – firstly because the younger we start treating, the better (and faster!) the results tend to be, and secondly because if we have to wait before we start treating, we are able to see and track the progression and changes in your child’s feet. I often ask if the foot was like this a year ago and am often greeted with ‘I honestly don’t know’. The more pieces of the puzzle we have, the more specific we can get in our treatment plan.
2. Pain is NOT the only indicator that something’s wrong. Parental instincts are a powerful thing – if you notice that something is odd, or isn’t quite right, there may well be something going on that needs to be addressed. Don’t doubt yourself!
3. A small thing may indicate something bigger happening. You’re not over-thinking anything at all – everything has a cause, and sometimes something as seemingly small and resolvable as a little bit of in-toeing can actually be a result of a structural foot abnormality that needs correction before it gets worse or weakness in the core muscles that need strengthening to correct and aid normal development.
I think the BIGGEST thing that I want to emphasise here is that we LOVE that you bring your child in at an early age! We LOVE that you just want to get their feet checked to make sure everything is progressing normally. We LOVE that you want to be as proactive as us and prevent any problems from developing instead of having to fix a painful foot after the pain has already started. We will NEVER think it was a bad idea to bring your little one in.
Kids are at the centre of what we do – it’s WHY we come to work – and nothing makes us happier than seeing happy, healthy and active children running around our practice and tearing up our toy box (literally, we have a drawer filled with toys now).
A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle care
Penrith, St Marys and soon to come to a suburb near you!