Ask the Doc... Dr. Lou Pack
“Is it a good idea to have my children’s feet checked? My pediatrician has never really looked at them.”
Absolutely! Having your children’s feet checked is one of the most important things you can do for them.
Frankly, it’s very unfortunate that so little importance is placed upon the human foot by most health care professionals. Look at how much emphasis is placed on having your child’s teeth checked and they’re replaceable!
Your child’s feet are the foundation of their entire body. Many times the problems we see in children’s knees, hips and low back can be helped with proper foot positioning. It can also help them perform better in sports as well as avoid injuries.
I recently saw a young girl for example, who broke her foot while playing soccer. Contrary to what she was told, this wasn’t a soccer “injury.” The tight calf muscles she had, made it impossible for her to pick her feet up properly while running and so she tripped, twisting and breaking her foot.
When you consider that in their average lifetime, your child will walk over four times around the world and carry over nine hundred thousand billion lbs of pressure on their feet (now that’s a number!), it might not be a bad idea to prepare those two “orphan structures” at the end of their bodies for the journey! You certainly would do the same for the tires on your car if you planned an extended trip.
If a foot problem is identified, parents are usually told that their children will outgrow it. The truth is you don’t outgrow most foot problems but to the contrary, you grow into them; i.e., the flexible, usually easily correctible problems seen, become fixed, rigid, often painful problems as they grow and develop. So the earlier a child’s foot problems are identified, the easier it is to correct them.
Arthritis is the number one cause of pain and disability today. Recent data shows that the major cause is not age as we thought, but rather structural problems (like a longer leg or flattened foot). It is these structural problems that we inherit and that can be stopped in most instances in children.
Unlike dental exams which are routinely recommended, a thorough foot evaluation can be done much less often and still have profound positive effects.
A former Clinical Instructor of Medicine at Emory, Dr. Pack practices at MCG at Reynolds Plantation. He works with patients who have arthritis and wish to decrease joint symptoms and remain active. He also treats athletes at all levels, including Olympic gold medalists, and helps the UGA Golf Team. For further information please see www.drloupack.com, drloupack.blogspot.com, or call (706) 454-0040.www