Concierge Podiatry for Kids

by • May 29, 2015 • Cover Story, Health, June 2015

A simple solution for life-changing results

By Jody Robinson
Photography by Lana Farfan, Caught in the Moment Photography

If your child has flat feet, feet that turn in or turn out or complains of foot, knee, leg or back pain, the solution could be as simple as custom orthotics inserted into their shoes.

Ivar Roth, DPM of the Newport Beach-based Concierge Podiatry is the only podiatrist in Orange County to offer the latest technology in custom orthotics for children with a NEW generation of inserts – that are unobtrusive and do not require special shoes to fit. These custom orthotics are calibrated to your child’s weight and results in nearly 100% correction of common foot alignment problems.

If left untreated, “flat feet” (also described as “fallen arches,” “rolled in ankles” or “excessive pronation”) can lead to a lifetime of foot, leg and back problems.

If your child complains of pain, it often means the muscles in the feet and legs are under pressure. Tripping or falling or general clumsiness are often signs that your child’s foot and surrounding musculature is not able to support itself properly.

And what many well-meaning practitioners diagnose as “growing pains,” may be alleviated altogether simply by looking at how your child walks or runs and treating any imbalances.

For Melissa Forrester’s seven-year-old daughter Olivia, the custom orthotics Dr. Roth fit her with were “life-changing.”

“At the age of four, Olivia was experiencing recurring leg pain and her doctors thought it was ‘growing pains’ and couldn’t determine a specific cause,” says Melissa. “The pain would keep her awake at night and at the end of the day, she would literally be crying because of how much her calves hurt.

“Our pediatrician referred us to Dr. Roth who examined Olivia’s feet, took X-rays and knew immediately that she would benefit from the custom orthotics. Olivia was fitted for the orthotics and we got them back within a couple of weeks and within a week of wearing them, we noticed an amazing difference – Olivia stopped complaining of leg pain completely. The orthotics are wafer thin and slip right into the bottom of her shoes. It’s been over three years we are on our second set – Olivia refuses to wear any shoes without the orthotics because she knows how it makes her feet and legs feel when she doesn’t wear them for a day or two. The results were so simple and simply life-changing for our daughter.”

Suzanne Robinson, whose 16-year-old daughter Katie also wears Dr. Roth’s custom orthotics, agrees with Melissa’s assessment and adds “I noticed that Katie’s foot was turned in and our pediatrician recommended that we see Dr. Roth. Katie’s been wearing the orthotics for about a year now and it’s made a tremendous difference in the wear and tear on her knees and performance in sports.”

In the following interview with Dr. Roth, we asked Dr. Roth to share his thoughts on common questions parents might ask when considering having their child evaluated to determine whether custom orthotics would be of benefit.

Marmalade: What are foot orthotics and how do they work?

Ivar Roth, DPM: Foot orthotics are much like glasses in that when you wear them, they will change the poor foot posture into normal or a much-improved position so that ergonomically the foot functions like it should. Once the foot works properly, the body responds. This means tired legs/ feet and inside knee discomfort, hip and lower back ache/pain improves or goes away If your child has flat feet, they HAVE a problem whether you are aware of it or not.

Marmalade: What conditions do custom orthotics help alleviate in children?

Ivar Roth, DPM: Flat feet for sure, but also any complaint of tired legs or not wanting to participate in sports or if your child suffers from knee pain, hip pain and/or lower back pain.

For parents who want to help their child improve their performance in sports and avoid future problems, this new generation of orthotic is a must.

If your child currently has orthotics, I would strongly recommend that you come in for an examination to see if the new generation orthotics will help them more. The VAST majority of children COULD use corrective orthotics to optimize their feet. Just as most kids need vision correction or orthodontics, the same holds true with feet.

Marmalade: What are the benefits of custom orthotics vs. the prefabricated ones on the market?

Ivar Roth, DPM: Custom orthotics of the type I use are vastly different from prefabs. The foot is corrected to nearly 100% of correction and these orthotics are calibrated to the child’s weight and so act as if they are wearing springs in their shoes.

Marmalade: What should a parent look for in their child’s feet, gait, etc. to determine a possible need for orthotics? At what age?

Ivar Roth, DPM: If your child has flat feet or a foot or feet that point outward or have ankles that are collapsing inward, they would benefit from these orthotics. The earlier you start the better around 3 years of age and DEFINITELY before their growth spurt. If started before their growth spurt, these orthotics have the potential to help grow the feet into a better permanently corrected position, not unlike braces for the teeth.

Marmalade: How do you fit the child’s feet?

Ivar Roth, DPM: Making the orthotics is simply maneuvering the foot into a special corrected position and making a foam impression. It is painless and simple to perform.

Marmalade: How long do custom orthotics typically last?

Ivar Roth, DPM: The orthotics are good for between two and three shoes sizes of growth or 15% increase in wt gain. Generally they are good for several years with yearly tune ups done in the office to keep them working in peak performance.

Marmalade: Will they fit into all my child’s shoes (i.e. can they be worn during athletics) and will wearing orthotics require that I buy my child a larger shoe?

Ivar Roth, DPM: The orthotic will work in all of their existing shoes. However, if the shoe is broken down, new shoes will be required for use with the new orthotics.

Marmalade: If it is determined that orthotics can benefit my child, how long will my child be required to wear the orthotics?

Ivar Roth, DPM: Like vision correction, orthotics are a lifelong commitment if you want to continue to achieve the benefits you receive by wearing them.

Foot health is very important and will not only help your child today, but will mean less adult-acquired problems in the future. Parents – look at your own feet – if you have any problems, it’s highly likely that your child will as well. You have the opportunity to help your children perform better and avoid future foot conditions and other health problems by having them examined to determine if they would benefit from custom orthotics.

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