Does My Toddler Need Custom Orthotics?

When you think of orthotics, you might picture the shoe inserts sold at your local drugstore. But orthotics aren’t just for shoes; they are any device used to correct, align, stabilize, immobilize, or otherwise improve the function of your body. They can be used to protect a certain limb or joint, reduce pain, or improve a deformity. When your child’s body is still forming, orthotics can be a great tool to gently guide the development process and avoid future medical issues that are harder to correct in adulthood.

Our teams at Ortho Engineering serve children throughout Southern California who suffer from musculoskeletal issues and congenital defects that might interfere with proper development and alignment. With pediatric orthotics, we can give your child the extra support they need to develop normally. 

Although there are many conditions that could require an external appliance to aid in growth and development, here are a few reasons your child might benefit from custom pediatric orthotics.

Foot pronation or supination

When your foot hits the ground, your ankle naturally pronates (angles inward slightly) to help absorb shock. When you push off the ground, your ankle naturally supinates (rocks outward slightly) to give more rigid support. When either of these movements is excessive, it can cause problems with shin splints, fractures, overuse injuries, and knee problems. 

We can design custom orthotics for your child’s shoes to correct this problem and prevent injuries. 

Hip dysplasia

The most common infant abnormality, hip dysplasia affects about 15% of newborns. In some babies, the hip socket and the top of the femur bone do not fit together well and the hip becomes easily dislocated. You might notice that your baby’s legs are different lengths or that they waddle, tiptoe, or limp when they walk.

We can design a custom hip brace or harness to keep the area stable while it grows and develops to the point where the brace is no longer needed. 


Scoliosis is when the spine curves side-to-side like an S. Without correction, the condition tends to worsen and cause health problems later in life. The curvature can be corrected with an orthotic in the form of a brace. It resembles a rigid shirt or jacket that fits the torso from the underarms to the hips.

Flat head syndrome

Babies’ bones are relatively soft, including their skulls. It’s not uncommon to notice a slight cone or oval shape after a vaginal birth, as the canal and the pressure of pushing can cause some minor misshaping. But this generally corrects itself within a few days or weeks. 

Some babies’ heads are misshapen for other reasons, including flat head syndrome that results from either positioning (plagiocephaly) or abnormal fusion of the skull bones (craniosynostosis). In either case, we can often help reshape the skull with a helmet orthotic while your baby’s head is still soft and forming.

Other conditions

These are just a few of the many conditions your child might have that can benefit from orthotics. Other conditions that might warrant an orthotic include:

Custom pediatric orthotics may ease the symptoms and offer corrective measures for complications related to these and other congenital conditions.

Types of orthotics

As mentioned, orthotics can be shoe inserts, helmets, braces, or harnesses. Depending on your child’s unique needs, we can prescribe corrective or protective orthotics that are:

Whatever stage of development your child is in, and whatever condition is causing orthopedic issues, we can help ease pain and discomfort while giving them the best opportunity to grow and develop into a healthy adult. 

If you think your child might benefit from custom orthotics, schedule an appointment at any of our nine Southern California locations so we can get your toddler started on the right path.

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