Why do children often need an exercise program as part of their treatment?
At Foot Health Clinic our paediatric podiatrists are trained in assessing and treating children’s foot and gait disorders. We understand the physical changes that affect the growing skeleton at different phases in childhood. The physical changes that occur during the rapid growth spurts of childhood and puberty, lead to a period often referred to as ‘adolescent awkwardness’ as children learn to adapt to their longer and heavier body and limbs. These periods of rapid growth often present challenges to the active child, resulting in tight leg muscles, an increased susceptibility to injury and sometimes a temporary loss of sporting performance.
How do you decide which exercises to prescribe for children?
At Foot Health Clinic, our comprehensive assessment includes tests of flexibility, joint range of motion, foot muscle strength, and balance and stability during gait. This assessment assists us in prescribing a targeted exercise program to help improve your child’s flexibility and address any muscle imbalances that may be contributing to the development of injuries, pain or abnormal foot posture.
What if my child is resistant to doing the exercises?
Exercise programs can often seem tedious, or boring, to most children, resulting in poor compliance and suboptimal treatment outcomes. At Foot Health Clinic, we understand the difficulties that parents can sometimes face in getting kids to complete their exercises at home. We will always discuss strategies to incorporate an exercise program into the routine of your family life.
Being parents ourselves, we are mindful of not overloading children with too many exercises that require a lot of time and assistance to complete. With younger children, we make an effort to ensure exercises are fun by using games and activities whenever possible. With older children, we use motivational techniques and make every effort to keep the number of exercises to a minimum, so that compliance is more likely.
Exercise programs form an integral part of a podiatry treatment plan.
Stretching and strengthening exercises often form an integral part of your child’s podiatry treatment plan. Exercise programs are often prescribed in combination with foot orthoses, supportive footwear and physical therapy (eg: massage, ice, heat packs etc) and will enable your child to achieve the best treatment outcomes and a speedy recovery from pain or injury