Spotting Flat Feet in Children

19 Dec Spotting Flat Feet in Children

Flat Feet in Children

Walking flat-footed is common in toddlers, whose feet are still fat and round. If you’ve noticed your child walking that way and asked your pediatrician about it, they probably told you that your little one would outgrow it. But is that always the case?

It might not be. Many children don’t outgrow their flat feet, and that’s when a podiatrist with experience in pediatric foot care should step in. Catching and correcting flat feet now is the key to preventing more serious, possibly permanent damage to your child’s feet, ankles, legs and back.

What Causes Flat Feet?

Most of us are born with flat feet. Usually, children develop an arch in the foot between the ages of four and six.

If your child hasn’t developed an arch by the age of six, he or she could have flat feet that need treatment. This is usually a combination of custom orthotics, active bracing, and special exercises.

Is it Flat Feet or Waddling?

Flatfooted walking looks like a toddler’s waddle, so sometimes it’s hard to tell if there’s a problem. In some cases, children appear to be walking bowlegged, when in reality, they’re walking that way because their flat feet are causing their knees to bend out.

Consulting a podiatrist is the best way to know if your child has flat feet. In the meantime, try looking for these signs.

Check your child’s footprint. Use ink and paper to take a print of your child’s foot, or examine the footprint they leave behind after walking barefoot in sand or mud. If you don’t see a visible arch, you should consult a podiatrist.

Be alert to aches and pains. Children with flat feet often experience pain in their ankles and calves after walking.

Watch for behavioral signs. Children with flat feet avoid playing sports, complain of pain that appears to have no cause, and often ask to be picked up and carried instead of walking on their own.

Treatment and Home Care

In most cases, a podiatrist can encourage the arch to grow through special exercise, prescribing stable and supportive shoes, and crafting custom orthotics to support the child’s feet.

These approaches will also alleviate the pain your child is feeling. Once the orthotics are in and the pain starts lifting, you’ll see your normal, happy toddler again.

At home, you can help your child by doing the following.

  • Have your child follow a regular stretching routine of the toes, ankles, and feet.
  • Make sure your child always wears their orthotics.
  • Buy children’s shoes with thick, supportive soles.

A Caring and Kid-Friendly Foot Doctor

Most children hate going to see any kind of doctor, but at Shuman Podiatry, you’ll find a warm, welcoming place where kids and their parents feel comfortable. Your child will love Dr. Shuman’s gentle approach and her use of special treatments that don’t hurt. She’ll also take the time to explain everything so that it’s clear and easy to understand.

Step Away from Flat Feet

At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we care for feet of all sizes. If you’re looking for a foot care specialist in Loudoun County, you can rest assured that your whole family will find compassionate care and the latest treatment techniques at our clinic. Call us today and get ready to step, march, jump and run away from your foot problems.

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