The treatment and rehabilitation process for children struggling with flat feet is long and sometimes quite painful. What exercises are recommended to support your child’s therapy?
The first and one of the simplest activities that support the process of reducing flat feet in children is barefoot walking. This activity is indicated in children from an early age. Even if the child is not yet able to walk independently, but only crawls, it is worthwhile for him to do it barefoot. Learning about new textures, shapes and sloping surfaces is crucial for the proper development of a child’s feet. Walking barefoot on stones, grass, sand, wooden floor, tiles or carpet is essential to stimulate the receptors in the foot, which are responsible for the proper functioning of the innervation of the leg.
It is essential that the child take all these steps independently, only with the weight of his own body weight. Walking frames or all other aids that are supposed to speed up a child’s learning to walk can do more harm than good. Such equipment puts additional strain on the body, and in the future can lead to degeneration of the spine, legs or hips. For children with flat feet, barefoot walking can stimulate circulation, help them get used to new ground textures and speed up the effect of corrective exercises.
Using the playground
Going to the park to the playground is entertainment in itself for a child. However, it turns out that the playgrounds that are being built nowadays can also be beneficial in inhibiting the development of flat feet in children. Using all kinds of climbing walls, climbing ropes, moving footbridges, trampolines or overcoming obstacle courses can help the proper development of the foot structure and support ongoing physiotherapy. These types of activities can be performed as early as 3-4 years old children, in whose parents have independently noticed the beginnings of flat feet. The child’s body is developing rapidly at this time, so it is crucial to react quickly and, if necessary, visit an orthopedic doctor.
For slightly older children, any physical activity that involves running or jumping is also effective.
Among the sports and activities cited as beneficial when treating children with flat feet, experts point to swimming. Regular visits to the pool help strengthen spinal muscles, improve proper body alignment, improve respiratory efficiency, relieve stress on the feet, and facilitate symmetrical load distribution during exercise. In addition to swimming itself, special corrective classes for children in water can be helpful in the fight against flat feet. Before enrolling your child in such trainings, it is worthwhile to consult with the attending physician, who will advise which activities are advisable for the condition.
Corrective exercises to eliminate flat feet are based largely on foot gymnastics. Classes should take place under the guidance of a physiotherapist, but some of the exercises can also be done independently at home. These include, among others, clapping with the feet, lifting bags with weights with the feet, drawing or writing with the feet, grasping various objects with the feet and carrying them into a box, walking on tiptoe, rolling a small ball with the feet, or removing socks with the feet themselves. Specialists recommend that independent training should last about 20 minutes a day.
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