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How Chiropractic Can Help Kids Chronic Sprained Ankles and Pigeon Toes
Parents often become concerned when they notice their child runs awkwardly, has a “pigeon toe” (also known as a bunion), or when they repeatedly sprain their ankles. I think your child is falling or falls more often than seems normal, you may notice that they roll their ankles inward (ASA overpronation), or their foot may appear “bowed”. There are three conditions that can cause these problems, and depending on the condition and your child’s age, intervention may be needed to correct it. The good news is that in these cases, serious intervention, such as leg braces or surgery, is usually not necessary.
1. Torsion of the tibia – This is a fairly common condition where the tibia or “shinbone” is not rotated to the position it will be in adulthood. Tibial torsion is considered normal until the age of 7. However, if there is excessive thumb between the ages of 2 and 7, I should consult a doctor. Your child may have excessive pronation, which can be seen on the big toe side of the foot much more than on the pinky side.
What your chiropractor can do – Your chiropractor can adjust subluxated (misaligned) leg joints and show you how to stretch the right muscles while strengthening others. Your Chiropractor can also fit your child with custom shoe orthotics to help prevent overpronation.
what can you do – Buy shoes with flexible soles and good arch support, such as sports shoes. Additionally, getting your child involved in sports or activities that emphasize running, such as soccer, will help strengthen leg muscles and ensure good muscle length.
2. Femoral sprains – This is similar to a tibial sprain, except in this case the femur or “femur” is out of position. This is another common condition that usually resolves by age 8. Again, excessive pronation can be seen, as well as knee flexion and excessive arching of the lower back.
What your chiropractor can do – Chiropractic treatment will be similar to a tibial sprain, only adjusting/stretching/strengthening the hip, not the knee and lower leg.
what can you do – Again, good shoes are fine. In this case, sports should include those that train the hips, such as cycling, ballet or gymnastics. Also, encouraging your child to sit cross-legged will stretch the muscles that hold the toes in position.
3. Metatarsus adductus — This one is a little different from the other two because it involves feet instead of legs. In this case, the toe occurs in the foot itself. This condition is normal up to 1 year of age and is a common problem in school-aged children.
What your chiropractor can do – Adjustments will target the bones of the feet and orthotics may be used if the problem persists after age 7
what can you do – Gently stretching your child’s foot against the pinky toe several times a day will help release tight tissue.
In all cases, it is important to ensure that your children’s shoes fit well, have enough room and are free of stress points. Also, if your child walks barefoot more often, it promotes better motor control and sense of position.
A Note on Chiropractic Adjustments: Many doctors, including Fletcher Hills Chiropractic, use low-force techniques, such as the Activator Technique, which are much gentler and less frightening for children. Ask your chiropractor what techniques he uses.
This San Diego Chiropractor article is a review of an article from the March 12 issue of Dynamic Chiropractor by Dr. Mark Charrette. Read the full article here at Dynamic Chiropractor
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