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How Chiropractic Can Help Kids Chronic Sprained Ankles and Pigeon Toes
Parents often become concerned when they notice their child running awkwardly, being “pigeon toed” (also known as in-toeing), or when they repeatedly twist their ankles. Your child my trip or fall more often than seems normal, you may notice that they roll their ankles inward (AKA excessive pronation), or their foot may have a “hooked look”. There are three conditions that can cause these problems and depending on which condition and the age of your child they may require intervention to correct. The good news is that serious interventions such as wearing leg braces or surgery are not usually necessary in these cases.
1. Tibia sprain – This is a fairly common condition where the tibia or “shin” has not turned into the position it will be in adulthood. A shin splint is considered normal up to the age of 7. However, excessive toe between 2 and 7 years my mandate consultation with a doctor. Your child may have excessive pronation seen by weight bearing on the big toe side of the foot much more than the pinky toe side.
What your Chiropractor can do – Your Chiropractor can adjust subluxated (misaligned) joints in the legs and show you how to stretch the appropriate muscles while strengthening others. Your Chiropractor can also fit your child with custom shoe orthotics to help correct the excessive pronation.
What can you do? – Buy shoes with flexible soles and good arch support such as athletic shoes. Also, involving your child in sports or activities that emphasize running such as soccer will help strengthen the leg muscles and provide good muscle length.
2. Femoral sprain – This is similar to a tibia sprain except in this case the femur or “femur” is the one that is out of position. This is another common condition that usually resolves on its own by age 8. Again excessive pronation can be seen as well as bowing of the knees and an excessive curve in the low back.
What your Chiropractor can do – Chiropractic treatment will be similar to that of a tibia sprain, adjustments/stretching/strengthening only focusing on the hip instead of the knee and lower leg.
What can you do? – Again, good shoes are fine. Sports in this case should include those that work the hips such as cycling, ballet or gymnastics. Also, encouraging your child to sit cross-legged will stretch the muscles holding the leg in a toe-in position.
3. Metatarsus adductus – This one is a bit different than the other two in that it involves the feet instead of the 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 – Adjustment will focus on the bones of the feet and orthotics can be used if the problem lasts more than 7 years.
What can you do? – Gently stretching your child’s foot toward the pinky toe several times a day will help loosen the tight tissues.
In all cases, it’s important to make sure your kids’ shoes fit with plenty of room and no tight spots. Also, having your child go barefoot more often encourages better motor control and posture.
A note on Chiropractic adjustments: Many doctors, including those at Fletcher Hills Chiropractic, use low-force techniques such as the Activation technique, which are much gentler and less scary 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 entire article here Dynamic Chiropractor
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