17 Jan Arch Development in Children
Flat Feet: Questions and Answers
If your child is complaining about ankle or foot pain, avoiding sports and refusing to walk, flat feet might be the cause. There is some confusion about when and how to treat flat feet in children, so in this post, we’ll answer some frequently-asked questions about this condition.
Do all children have flat feet?
Yes. Everyone is born with pes planus, the medical term for flat feet. In most children, the arch appears at around three years of age. If you haven’t seen signs that your child has developed an arch by then, or if your child is having difficulty with normal walking, it’s time to call a podiatrist who specializes in children’s foot care.
Do flat feet always need correction?
Some doctors will tell you that children grow out of their flat feet. But that’s not always the case.
Treating flat feet early will allow the arch to develop, alleviate pain and prevent muscular deformities. If your child’s arch hasn’t developed by the age of seven or eight, their flat feet might become permanent.
What happens if flat feet are left untreated? Won’t my child just grow out of it?
That might happen, but why take the chance? Leaving flat feet untreated can result in many serious, possibly permanent foot problems including hammertoes, bunions, frequent ankle sprains and arthritis.
Untreated flat feet are painful, and your child will start to avoid sports and outdoor activities. None of this is healthy and it’s certainly not fun for your child.
The safest approach is to have a podiatrist examine your child’s feet and gait. With treatment, you can correct your child’s flat feet and prevent a future of painful foot problems.
What are the best treatments for flat feet?
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Clinic, we use a combination of special exercises, bracing and custom orthotics to treat them. Research has found that this three-pronged approach achieves the best results. We use 3D imaging to ensure a perfect fit. Our on-staff pedorthist can offer expert guidance on selecting the best footwear and using the orthotics.
The right treatment will help encourage the growth of the arch and prevent many feet, ankle and spine injuries. Orthotics will also relieve your child’s foot pain. The sooner you start, the sooner you can set your child up for a healthy, pain-free future.
What can I do at home?
The number-one thing you can do is choose the right footwear for your child. Like adults, children need shoes with sturdy heels and good arch support. Dr. Shuman will be happy to look at your child’s shoes and give you an assessment.
Regular exercise will also help. Ask Dr. Shuman to show you an exercise routine that strengthens the ligaments surrounding the toes and arch. We always use extra care and patience with our youngest clients, teaching them simple routines that are fun and easy to learn.
If you’re concerned about your child’s feet, call Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine. You and your child will feel at ease in our warm, kid-friendly clinic, where you’ll also find the most advanced diagnostic techniques and treatments. Make an appointment today and set your child up for a healthy, happy foot future.