2023 Author: Priscilla Miln | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 02:58
Many parents face the diagnosis of flat feet. It is important to understand when it is really a problem and when it is the norm, and what to do to prevent its development.
Flat feet: when to sound the alarm?
According to research, diseases of the musculoskeletal system are the second leading cause of disability in the world. The cause of most of them is flat feet: according to statistics, it is diagnosed in 40–70% of adult Russians and in 20–40% of Americans. The difference in rates is due to diagnostic methods and treatment approaches, but the problem exists in both countries.
Domestic experts call flat feet one of the most common diagnoses, which is heard at the reception of a pediatric orthopedist. And although a large number of studies have been carried out in the world regarding the problem of flat feet, there is still no consensus on the methods of diagnosis and treatment. In Russia, for example, such a diagnosis is already made to one-year-old babies, often based only on a visual examination. However, it has been proven that in children up to about 9 years of age (sometimes later), a flat foot is the norm. During this period, the process of its formation takes place: as a rule, up to 10 years, the height of the longitudinal archgradually increases. Formation is completed by about 16-17 years. Therefore, it is premature to diagnose "flat feet" and begin to deal with the "problem" already in the first years of a child's life. Moreover, the main “treatment” in this case comes down to the appointment of orthopedic shoes: according to some Russian orthopedists, they must be worn both at home and while walking. Parents who are faced with such an appointment know how uncomfortable these shoes are for the baby's feet. They cause discomfort and interfere with outdoor games, and the very fact of wearing such shoes affects the child's self-esteem.
American experts think otherwise: podiatrists (not pediatricians!), who are involved in the prevention and treatment of the foot, even fixing a deviation from the norm, do not consider flat feet in children at an early age a problem and do not prescribe treatment. At the same time, they are sure that orthopedic shoes are not able to affect the shape of the foot. In their opinion, it is necessary to sound the alarm only when discomfort occurs - fatigue when walking, deformity of the feet, swelling, pain. And to prevent this from happening in the future, parents of babies are advised to follow a few tips:
- refuse from swaddling, because. it leads to weakening of the muscles of the legs and feet;
- use booties until the baby starts walking: they warm the leg and at the same time do not constrain the foot;
- stimulate crawling: it not only forms the correct curves of the spine, but also ensures the normal functioning of the musculoskeletal system;
- do not force the baby to learn to walk until the time has come: the child will do it himself when his musculoskeletal system is sufficiently developed;
- purchase the first shoes for the baby only when he takes the first step: its main task is to protect the foot from injury, and the crawling child does not need it;
- give up orthopedic shoes, because they do not affect the shape of the foot and are not able to solve the problems of flat feet;
- to encourage walking barefoot: this is a normal human condition, regardless of age. And most importantly - walking without shoes is useful!
Perhaps, Russian parents brought up on other installations, such advice will seem unexpected. While some of them are debatable, most are worth listening to.
Prevention is better than cure
The golden mean is to combine the best advice from doctors who deal with foot problems on both sides of the ocean: make early diagnosis and take preventive measures.
Serious problems arise only with high-grade flat feet: in this case, the arches of the foot do not have the opportunity to "gather". However, only 1–2% of people make this diagnosis: such flat feet can occur with an underdeveloped muscle or other congenital malformations. In most cases, flat feet are acquired: it develops after an injury, due to excess weight, heavy loads, as a result of malnutrition during bone growth. And also the wrong choiceshoes during the formation of the foot.
So that in the future the child does not have he alth problems caused by flat feet, it is worth taking measures in advance:
- ensure proper nutrition: include in the diet foods rich in calcium, which is important for the formation of the musculoskeletal system, vitamins and trace elements;
- choose the right shoes: flexible, spacious, made of natural materials, with a closed top (so the foot will not slip forward), with arch support, a solid closed back and a small heel, with a leather bending sole;
- Massage the feet, such as rubbing (circular, straight and spiral), stroking, squeezing and rotating;
- do foot baths with pebbles;
- create conditions for walking barefoot on uneven surfaces: in nature - on the seabed, earth, pebbles, sand, and in the city - on an orthopedic rug, because walking on a level floor does not provide the same therapeutic effect. With this natural massage, the child will be able to strengthen the foot, and at the same time relieve general tension, for example, by doing a few simple exercises:
1: step back and forth, back straight, hands on waist (repeat 4 times), 2: step back and forth, knees high, hands on waist (repeat 2x), 3: side step back and forth (repeat 2x);
4: Walk in single file, crouching, hands on knees (repeat 4 times).
These measures will provide the necessary workload during thefoot shaping.
So that in the future the child does not have problems associated with flat feet, it is worth taking measures in advance: make a diet in which he will receive enough calcium, choose the right shoes, do foot massage, and provide the opportunity to walk on uneven surfaces. Because preventing a disease is always easier than curing it.
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