One of the most common reasons that parents bring their children to see a podiatrist is because they are worried about their “flat feet”.
Flat feet are very common, and considered normal in young children. The flatness, however is expected to reduce with age. Small children have very flexible feet as not all of the bones have developed yet. As the foot develops, it will grow into its adult posture.
At roughly the age of 6-7 is when the flat foot should be less pronounced, with the arch of the foot being noticeably higher.
There are generally two types of presentations of flat feet – one being flat feet that are associated with pain, the other being flat feet that have no pain.
Flat feet that are painful, or are potentially causing any pain in the legs, knees, hips or lower back are often addressed with the implementation of an arch support insole. If your child is experiencing any consistent pain in their feet, legs or hips, it is important to pay your podiatrist a visit so they can assess the cause.
Flat feet that are not associated with pain are far more common. Flat feet can be mild, moderate or severe and may or may not require treatment. Flat feet are more common in some ethnic groups and can carry on into adulthood without causing any significant problems.
Orthotics can be used for patients with non-painful flat feet, however, this will depend on your podiatrist’s assessment of the situation and the necessity for intervention. Otherwise, exercises and well-fitting shoes can be very helpful.
If you are at all concerned, have your child assessed by a podiatrist, who can either form a treatment plan or provide some reassurance.