Are Children’s Orthotics Really Necessary?

20/04/2021

It’s pretty common to hear children boasting, ‘I need orthotics for my shoes’. The same goes for adults in a lot of cases. However, the science of children’s orthotics often isn’t as precise as it’s made out to be by shoe manufacturers. Children’s orthotics are often toted as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, however this is mainly due to marketing reasons. Many unscrupulous and second-rate shoe suppliers will prescribe orthotics for almost any problem they perceive. Regulation surrounding orthotics is a mess and it’s nearly impossible for consumers to know if they actually need the shoe inserts or where to get an expert diagnosis and prescription.

What Are Children’s Orthotics?

Orthotics are shoe inserts that are fitted to counterbalance abnormalities in the shape of the foot that make wearing normal shoes uncomfortable. Orthotics are prescribed for a range of medical conditions, but they’re only really reliable for painful pes cavus (high arches). This particular condition can make walking or running in regular shoes uncomfortable and over time can lead to more severe foot and ankle problems. With orthotics, the feet are more balanced during motion and the wearer can exercise more comfortably. 

There are other applications of orthotics that sometimes see good results following prescription:

  • Plantar faciitis
  • Arthritis of the foot
  • Diabetes
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Back pain

However, even with expert prescription and high quality craftsmanship, orthotics are only helpful some of the time. Foot, ankle, knee and hip biomechanics are very complex and gait analysis is more art than science. Given the complexities of feet and human motion, children’s orthotics should not be prescribed without a thorough examination by a licensed professional. 

Who Can Prescribe Children’s Orthotics

Specifically, pedorthists and orthotists are the only two professionals who are, in our opinion, qualified enough to provide a genuine prescription for orthotics. This is because they are the only branch of the medical field trained in both lower body anatomy, kinesiology, pathology and the actual design of custom foot orthoses. Most ‘custom’ orthotics are just pieces of plastic that might fit your foot. A pedorthist or orthotist will use better materials during manufacturing and ensure that orthotics are flexible, comfortable and can breathe to adjust for natural changes in the foot’s shape during the day.

Does My Child Need Orthotics?

A lot of factors must be catered to for orthotics to be prescribed successfully: 

  • A patient must have a diagnosable biomechanical problem and something really obvious, otherwise they risk receiving different diagnoses from different health professionals.
  • The diagnosed problem must be relevant to an injury. Compliance with this factor is tough because most repetitive strain injuries are not clearly associated with a known biomechanical problem.
  • The problem must be correctable. Quite a few problems simply will not heal with orthotics.
  • Assuming all of these factors materialise, a patient will still need a prescription and high quality orthotics made for them.

Contact Garvalin For High Quality School Shoes

Garvalian Australia doesn’t make any claims regarding the efficacy of our shoes when it comes to fixing problems with feet balance or gait. However, our shoes are all of very high quality and are comfortable to wear for most children. If you are in need of some high quality school shoes or dress shoes for your children, jump onto our online store to see what’s available. Garvalin Autralia has been operating for over 25 years and supply only the highest quality shoes manufactured in our facility in Spain.