Should I Be Worried About My Child’s Flat Feet?
It is rare for a week to pass without a parent asking if they should be concerned by their child’s flat feet. There is almost always no need for concern but there are instances where flat feet need to be investigated.
Why are children’s feet often flat?
It is completely normal for a young child’s foot to be flat until around 7-10 years of age. This is due to:
The bones do not fully ossify until this point. This means some of the foot is still cartilage and not yet able to hold the arch structure.
The ligaments in the foot of a young child are very stretchy and unable to hold or support a proper arch structure leading to a very flat foot.
Young children can have quite a high fat level. This is important for growth and development but can also give the appearance of a chubby, squishy foot.
When should I be concerned about flat feet?
In most cases, there is nothing to worry about with your child’s flat feet and the arch will develop as your child grows. However there are some instances in which foot position should be investigated further:
Your child complains of pain in their feet or legs. This will commonly occur after activity and may include them asking to be carried or not wanting to walk. Some children may even withdraw from activities to avoid the pain.
Complaining of pain in their feet at night that wakes them from sleeping. This one always needs to get checked! Sometimes it can just be tiredness in the feet but this can be assessed by your podiatrist.
Your child trips and falls frequently. This can be hard to judge as children are often clumsy. However frequent tripping and falling, especially compared to siblings or other children their age may be related to their foot position.
One foot is a lot flatter than the other or one leg rotates in more. While it is not unusual for slight differences between feet, significant differences should always be checked.
What can be done for my child’s flat feet?
As we said above, in most instances there is nothing to be worried about with flat feet. However if your child is complaining of sore feet, there are ways to place the feet in a better position. These include:
Supportive shoes. I know it can be difficult to justify buying more expensive shoes when your child’s feet are growing so quickly but the extra support can make a big difference.
Massage. Gentle massage of the feet and calves can be helpful at relieving some pain associated with flat feet.
Small insoles available from the chemist or shoe stores. These can sometimes provide enough support to the foot to take away pain.
If none of the above methods help to relieve your child’s foot pain from their flat feet, a visit to the podiatrist may be required. At My Family Podiatry, we will perform a thorough screening of your child’s feet and legs before recommending a treatment protocol. This may include:
Padding added to the inside of your child’s shoe to improve foot position.
Orthotics or insoles to provide more control to the foot and leg.
Exercises to improve strength through the feet and legs.
Referral if the foot position is more serious and requires assessment by a paediatrician.
At My Family Podiatry, we love helping keep kids active by ensuring they can play without foot or leg pain. If you are concerned about your child’s foot position or they are complaining of foot or leg pain, click the button below or call 07 3088 6116 to organise and appointment.