Children’s Feet

Children's Feet

Our feet are complex structures composed of 26 bones, that’s a lot! The bones muscles and ligaments are designed to support the entire body weight on uneven surfaces and have the ability to absorb shock. Most of the foot’s structure develops in the first two years however the bones themselves do not harden until around the age of 18  which is why assessing a child’s foot early can be crucial.

In the first three years a child’s foot grows up to 12 sizes and many children have flat looking feet that may concern a parent. However, most children are born with flat arches that develop over the next 7 to 8 years into the foot they will have into adulthood.  With a good family history and normal development most arches will correct themselves at least to match their parents or grandparents. Other foot traits are also inherited for instances a child with a mild bunion and a father or aunt who had severe bunions can probably count on inheriting the trait. Thank you very much daddy! If all is normal in the development of the child and the child has a mild flatfoot chances are this does not need treatment.  More severely pronated feet or a child that does not have a typical development may need to be assessed.

It is also important to see what is happening at the knee and the hip. Children who in toe or out toe significantly can be helped by a gait plate which encourages internal or external rotation. These are simple insoles which can be fit into most children’s shoes. It is important to determine where the rotation is coming from as it may involve the hip, knee, ankle or foot position.

Children should not experience pain in walking or running, even though they endure about three times more stress than the average adult foot due to their high activity and greater proportion of high-impact activities.

At Ortho Design  we only treat children with orthotics when the assessment shows that self correction is unlikely. Biomechanics, gait evaluation, motor and neurological development as well as family history are all taken into consideration.

We have several types of children’s orthotics ranging from pre-sized heel cups to custom cast orthotics. With a physiotherapist’s or physician’s referral foot exams for children are free. We may however recommend monitoring the development of the foot. We will measure hind-foot inclination and can compare it at intervals to see if normal development is occurring. Good footwear can be important but it does not provide the correction that a proper arch support gives, just put your fingers into the arch area of any children’s foot and press down!!!


Over the past 16 years, our son Matthew, has experienced dedicated professional care from Birgit at Ortho Design. She has connected relationally with Matthew and our family which has made dealing with her so enjoyable. We highly recommend her services to anyone who requires them!

John and Kathy    BC   

Plantar fasciitis stinks!
Tried the stretches, the ice, heel lifts and inflammatories for 8 months. It was a night stretch brace (no fun!) and foot orthotics that finally stopped the pain.

Robin    Vernon, BC   

I am an avid runner but was stopped in my tracks my a fallen metatarsal head. The first steps in the orthotics were the best I had felt in over 2 years. Just starting to run again with a triathlon in my sights.

Scott    West Kootenays   

2 pairs of foot orthotics (not from Ortho Design) and almost 1000.00 and I still had almost constant pain in my feet. My friend recommended Ortho Design but I didn't want to throw out good money after bad. They adjusted my orthotics and I finally got relief. I know where I will have my next orthotics made. Thanks Ortho Design.

Val    West Kootenays   

Dr. Alvarez at BC Children's referred me to Birgit for braces for our 12month old. We have progressed to 2 other designs over the following 2 years. Ortho Design provides excellent customer service and Birgit is very accommodating of our busy schedule. Delaney's braces were a perfect fit and very cute colors and patterns. We would recommend Ortho Design without hesitation. Thank-you.

Laura    Kelowna, BC   

My experience with Ortho Design has been lovely. Birgit has always been a pleasure to work with and makes my braces look amazing.

Alix    Summerland, BC   

My daughter is an incredibly active seven year old with Spina Bifida who constantly breaks parts on her brace. I am constantly questioning new ways to brace my daughter, Birgit always takes the time to address my concerns and come up with a compromise that has always benefited my incredibly outgoing daughter. It is very reassuring to be able to take an active role in her health care. Thanks Birgit!

Melissa    Castlegar, BC   

I can run more than 6K again. Yeah! Thanks.

Rob    Kelowna, BC   

We have to regularly deal with the health care system where everything takes a long time to get things done. Getting braces made for my daughter is the one thing that always seems to go smoothly. We have been having braces made for our daughter for 6 years and are very happy here.

Tara & Darby    Kelowna, BC   

Due to a work accident I lost the use of my calf muscles. This made it very challenging to go up or down hills. These braces now allow me to walk down the hill to the beach where I can play With my children. I look forward to outdoor adventures again!!!

Travis    Grand Forks   

I have had the pleasure of working on many projects with Birgit over the past several years. We started out with a pair of KAFO leg braces to allow me to stand and gait walk. Watching her approach to customized work I felt like she'd be the perfect person to help me create new and innovative ways to really get back into sports since my spinal cord injury. Birgit has helped me to create better/safer ways to sit on my surf board, mountain bike and sit ski. Anytime I need custom work done, I think of Birgit.

Josh Dueck    BC, Paralympic Gold and Silver Medalist   

I can't even begin to thank you enough for all the support that you have given my family over the past 6 years. Your dedication to your clients is above and beyond. We are so thrilled to be dealing with a company that treats us like family. We so appreciate the way that you work around our hectic lives and make every visit a pleasure. Thank you again for everything you do.

Lisa    Kelowna, BC   

Our pediatrician and team at BC children's hospital recommended Birgit. We couldn't be more pleased with how accommodating her team has been as well as the product we have received.

Neava    Revelstoke, BC   

If I had not been introduced to Birgit in 2009 I would probably be in a wheelchair and be missing my left leg. She helped in so many ways with my mobility issues, I don't know what I would have done without her.

Janice    Vernon, BC   

Birgit first worked on my orthotics in 1990. I have never found a better one more professional orthotist. I would highly recommend her to anyone with orthotic needs.

Bill    Greenwood, BC   

My girls love visits with Birgit, her caring nature and knowledge of bracing has greatly helped Holly’s walking throughout the years.

Holly    Falkland, BC