While autism is a neurological condition, that doesn't mean it has no effects on the rest of the body. In particular, autistic children may suffer more problems with their legs and feet than their neurotypical peers. These issues can exacerbate autism symptoms and make your child unhappy or irritable. That's why it's a good idea to take your child for regular podiatrist check-ups if they're on the autism spectrum. Here are 2 reasons why your little one might benefit from podiatry treatment for their legs and feet.
Your Child May Have Low Muscle Tone
Did you know that many children on the autism spectrum have hypotonia? Commonly known as low muscle tone, hypotonic children have 'floppy' limbs that are difficult to move. In one study, 65% of young autistic children were found to have hypotonia; while some children grew out of it, further research indicated that 1/3 of autistic children over the age of 6 still suffered from hypotonia.
Low muscle tone makes movement a struggle for autistic children, and they have to put more effort into it than other children do. They may show difficulty or upset when walking, running, and even standing, which makes everything from running errands to playing outside feel like an uncomfortable chore. Thankfully, while hypotonia can't be cured, the effects can be managed and improved with podiatry care. A podiatrist can help your child with special exercises and orthotic shoe inserts that will improve their movement and posture so they can enjoy moving around like their peers do.
Your Child May Need Specialist Footwear
Many, many autistic children are sensitive to external stimuli. If your child has a problem with certain sensations and the way things feel on their skin, you've likely had many battles over getting them dressed in the morning and ensuring they stay dressed throughout the day. Many parents combat this with special fabrics, tailored clothing, and brands designed for autistic children. However, it's important to remember that your child's feet may be sensitive too.
If your little one complains when putting their shoes on or they tend to get upset while walking and try to take them off, they may need specialist orthopaedic footwear. A podiatrist can help you get custom shoes that are made to fit your child's feet perfectly, using fabrics that increase comfort and breathability to make mornings and outings less stressful for both you and your child.Share
17 November 2017
My son has always been an eager athletics competitor. He loves to run and jump, and especially loves to be the winner. He has been getting a lot of foot pain recently, and I wasn't sure if it was due to growing pains or if he'd been exercising too much. Luckily we found a great pediatric podiatrist who has been able to help him treat the pain and get some new foot inserts and shoes so that he doesn't keep having issues. This blog is all about podiatry for children and should be great for other parents with active kids.