I think my Child has 'Flat Feet': What should I do?
The infamous flat foot feared by parents, and understandably so. Seeing that your child has flat feet can be frightening especially if you, as a parent, have lived with this foot type yourself. In children, flat feet don’t necessarily mean the end of the world. In many cases flat feet are a normal phase of a child's development. Children’s feet also tend to have more fatty tissue and as a result are 'puffier' and can appear flatter as a result of this.
What is Pediatric Flat Foot?
- The arch of the foot may flatten when the child stands, then reappear when lifting off the ground or standing of their tip-toes
- Generally there is an associated ligamentous laxity or hypermobility
Most of the time, flat feet in children spontaneously resolve with time and skeletal development. However, it is important to note that some cases of flat feet in children are not normal and should be assessed by a professional.
The pediatric flat foot is generally pain free (asymptomatic), however some symptoms may be present and they include:
- Pain, tenderness, and/or cramping in the feet or legs, especially along the bottom of the feet
- Heels that tilt outward/ roll in
- Child changes their walking pattern
- Pain or discomfort while walking/ running in the feet or legs
The Asymptomatic Rigid Flat foot is the silent troublemaker and must not go unchecked. In rare cases children may have no pain but they have flat feet that stay flat no matter if they are standing, on tip-toes or lifting their feet off the ground. These children may develop symptoms as preadolescents and their foot may become stiffer and stiffer with age.
When to see a podiatrist
- If your child has pain in the feet and/or legs and flat feet
- If your child has no pain but flat feet that stay flat like a pancake all the time (for example: when on tip-toes or sitting in a high chair with feet dangling)
Generally, most cases of pediatric flat foot are perfectly normal and nothing to fear but just having a quick examination by a professional can make all the difference to your peace of mind.
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