Weakness in the leg muscles, contracture with limitations in the movement in the joints of the legs or feet should be evaluated by your physician immediately.
When a child complains of soreness in the legs it is frequently said that they are having "growing pains". In fact the act of growing is not a painful condition. "Growing pains" indicate that something abnormal is occurring. The muscles in the lower leg control the function of the foot. When the feet are not functioning properly it causes the muscles in the legs to fatigue. This fatigue results in soreness or cramping in the muscles of the legs. This may manifest itself early in development of the child. A newly walking child may prefer to be carried or held instead of exploring their new world. Youngsters may protest walking in the mall or at amusement parks, tiring easily during a fun adventure.
Treatment consists of using custom molded inserts for the shoes called orthotics to correct the underlying abnormal foot function. This in turn reduces the stress experienced in the leg muscles and will ease or eliminate the soreness. The results can be quite dramatic with a rapid improvement in the child's symptoms. As with all medical treatments results may vary and orthotics may failure to resolve the problem.
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A flatfoot deformity is where the arch on the inside border of the foot is more flat than normal. Flatfoot deformities can occur in all age groups, but appear most commonly in children. Some of these children grow up into adults who have feet with normal arches, but many of these children have pain related to their flatfoot deformity throughout their lives. It is very important that children with flatfoot deformity be evaluated by a podiatrist to determine if they need treatment to prevent future pain or deformity in their feet.
When the young child starts to first walk at about the age of 9-15 months of age, the foot has a fat or chubby appearance where there is a less bony architecture apparent in the foot. At this point in the development of the foot, it is very difficult to evaluate whether the child will have future problems with a flatfoot deformity.
At the ages of two and three, the child's foot starts to show more of its characteristic shape since the foot is less fat and the bones are more prominent. If the child has a flatfoot deformity at the ages of two to three, then it is wise to have the foot examined by a foot specialist such as a podiatrist. The reason that it is important to have the feet examined at this age is because the young foot is still largely made of cartilage, with less bone than would be present in the adult foot. Since cartilage is relatively soft, the abnormal forces caused by a flatfoot deformity may cause permanent structural alterations to the bones and joints of the foot that will persist into adulthood.
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