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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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July 2001

Q. My daughter is 10-years-old and her feet toe in. Our orthopedist determined that this is caused by either the thigh bone or the hips. She also is very flat footed. One or both of these problems causes her knee pain after exercise. Are orthotics appropriate for children? Our doctor didn't give us a definitive answer, rather he suggested that we wait and see if she outgrows it. He felt that the thighs or hips may straighten out as she grows. He also indicated that there are two schools of thought about whether a child should use orthotics, one being that once they start using them, they will require them for the rest of their life. I would hate to have my daughter use them and cause her more harm than if we did nothing. Any suggestions?

A. It is accurate that many of these apparent problems with foot alignment will resolve naturally with age. But it can be troubling to the family when the "intoeing" described brings a lot of attention to the child. An experienced pediatrician or pediatric orthopedist can help you determine whether specific treatment is needed. They will also determine whether the foot problem is due to rotation at the hip, leg, or foot itself.




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