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Orthotic footwear

Why has my child been given orthotic footwear?

We feel your child would benefit from additional support required by these boots. The boot will support the foot in a weight bearing position whether in a standing frame, walking aid, or in unsupported walking. The stiffness of the boot is suitable to provide this along with the wide stiffened sole to increase the weight bearing surface and increase the base of support.

When should my child be wearing them?

Generally your child should have them on for all or at least the majority of their standing time, whether this is in a standing or walking aid, indoors or out and about including at nursery or school. This will be advised by your physiotherapist or orthotist.

Is it okay to be wearing other footwear?

For active children the boots should be your child’s main footwear and unless discussed, other shoes should not be worn. If your child only wears the boots for standing periods and is otherwise in a chair or carried, other softer shoes are optional. In some circumstances when the boots can’t be worn (if they are getting too small, worn out, or unsuitable for indoor use) there are often quite suitable shop bought footwear which could be sourced. These should have an ankle, or above-ankle trim, a firm heel counter (when you squeeze the back of the heel it shouldn’t be soft and flexible), with a stiff flat sole.

How long will we need to wear the footwear for?

This will depend entirely on your child’s progress. We leave it up to parents and carers to monitor the size and fit of the boots and to contact the orthotic department if you feel the boots are getting too small. This allows us to re-assess and determine whether the footwear is still appropriate. If your child needs to continue in orthotic footwear they will be re-measured. We aim to remove the footwear as soon as it is appropriate to allow for normal functional development of the foot. Over-supporting the growing foot can have a negative effect on the development and structure of the foot.

Will the boots correct my child’s foot position?

A common misunderstanding is that orthotic footwear or insoles will correct the foot and lead to a neutral ‘normal’ foot position. The footwear we provide offers support while it is worn, allowing for a more stable base and better alignment when your child is developing their standing and walking strength. The natural progression of the foot development varies from person to person and continues until the age of 7 to 8. It is this natural progression which will determine your child’s long term foot position, not what we supply. Over-supporting the foot can lead to reliance of this support and prevent the natural development of the muscles and soft tissue structures in the feet. In most cases having ‘flat feet’ will not lead to ongoing problems.

What will happen when my child is no longer provided with footwear?

We will be keen to take your child out of footwear as soon as it is appropriate, as over-supporting the growing foot can have a negative effect on the normal functional development of the foot structure. When this is the case we will advise on the type of footwear which should be purchased from the shops. This may be a similar more supportive boot style, or in a lot of cases a normal shoe or trainer style will suffice. Often when taking a child out of boots we may supply an insole to use in your own footwear as a step down in support level. If this is the case we will advise on its use and again review and re-assess the appropriateness of these when the insole is outgrown.

Will I see you again once the footwear is stopped?

Generally we will not need to see you again once we remove the footwear, as hopefully your child will manage well without any intervention. If you feel your child’s stability or ability has deteriorated since coming out of the footwear, contact us and we will be happy to review your child to assess.

Contact us

Orthotic Department: 0114 271 7271

Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 4.30pm

Email: scn-tr.orthotics@nhs.net

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: ORT11

Resource Type: Article

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Orthotic Department: 0114 271 7271

Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 4.30pm

Email: scn-tr.orthotics@nhs.net


Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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