Your Child's Flat Feet: What You Should Know

Children and Flat Feet

We are born with little or no foot arch; there is a sizable pad of fat on babies’ inside arches which changes with growing. If you still note your child's flat feet at the afe of six (the medical term for flat feet is pes planus ) by the age of six , it’s time to visit a podiatrist.

The visit to a podiatrist is important because the doc can tell you if it is a ‘normal’ flatfoot or a ‘rigid’ flatfoot. The rigid flatfoot is just that, rigid and unable to flex. One or more bones have fused together.  This video shows the difference:

The good news is that a normal, flexible flatfoot is common and you can treat your child's flat feet with these tips:

1. Safety permitting, going barefoot strengthens foot muscles and increases coordination.

2. A properly fitting shoe is crucial , especially with rapidly growing feet. Check the fit while your child is standing. The shoe soles should be flexible.

Footminders Kids Orthotics - Arch Supports for Children

3. An easy foot exercise , 20 minutes a day, is to have your child play with a towel in her bare feet, trying to pick it up, passing it from foot to foot, etc. If your child is over six, it is important to take immediate action, especially if one foot is flatter than the other. Having a lower arch in one foot can lead to spinal and pelvic deformities from the effect on your child’s posture.

A very active kid who is bearing weight that is not symmetrical is more likely to suffer trauma from the back all the way down to the feet.

If the above recommended foot exercise is not making a difference and the feet are overly pronating (turning in), it is important to see a podiatrist to prevent further problems. Orthotic devices may be needed.

Flat feet after the age of ten are considered permanent and orthotic devices are needed. A podiatrist can make custom orthotic devices to help your child’s feet stay in alignment. Also see: How To Choose Children's Shoes

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