4 Things Parents Need To Know About Pediatric Flat Feet
Flat feet is a type of foot deformity. People with this deformity have collapsed arches, so the entire sole of their foot comes into contact with the ground when they stand or walk. You may already know that adults can develop flat feet, but you may not know that children can also suffer from it. Here are four things you need to know about pediatric flat feet.
What causes pediatric flat feet?
Flat feet are normal for babies and very small children. This is because young children have flexible bones and joints, unlike adults, so when they stand, their feet will flatten. This isn’t a concern until your child gets a bit older. At around six years old, the bones and joints should stiffen, and at this point, an arch should develop. If the arch fails to develop, pediatric flat feet are the result.
Pediatric flat feet can also be caused by tightness of the Achilles tendon, the tendon in the back of the ankle. Rigid feet can also be the cause. Some children are born with rigid feet and have trouble moving or flexing them.
What are the signs of pediatric flat feet?
If your child has flat feet, they may complain that their feet hurt. They may also mention pain in their muscles of their legs. They may not tell you that they’re in pain, so stay alert for clues that could suggest they have developed an issue with their feet. Children with sore feet may ask to be carried instead of walking and may start choosing sedentary activities over the more active pursuits that they used to enjoy.
How do podiatrists treat it?
There is some disagreement among podiatrists regarding whether or not asymptomatic pediatric flat feet should be treated. If your child has no symptoms, your podiatrist may want to wait and see if the condition improves as your child gets older.
Painful flat feet can be treated with non-surgical methods like well-fitting shoes with good arch support, orthotics, and stretching exercises. If your child’s feet are very painful, you may also be told to give them nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
Surgical treatments are also possible when less invasive treatments don’t work. There are multiple surgical procedures available depending on both the cause and the severity of the flat feet.
Is this a common problem among children?
Many studies have been done to figure out how common pediatric flat feet are in children, and they’ve found wildly different results. Prevalence rates of between 0.6% and 77.9% have been reported, depending on the age group studied and the assessment method used.
If you think your child has flat feet, take them to a podiatrist like Foundation Chiropody Foot Doctor right away for evaluation and treatment.