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Is Flat Feet in Children a Problem?

Author: Craig Payne
by Craig Payne
Posted: Nov 17, 2021
flat feet

Infants are born with flat feet. Its not a problem and is quite normal. A of that flatness is due to a fat pad that is in the arch. The proper arch of the foot should start to form as the child starts to walk and by about age 6 when the normal heel to toe gait pattern develops we should start to see the arch appear and develop. Flat feet are very common at this age and most of them will grow out of it.

There is a lot of debate about flat feet in children and if it needs to be treated or not. While most kids do grow out of it, some do not. The question then is that should they all be treated early so that those few that do not grow out of it get help. It is, at this stage, not possible to pick those that will grow out of it and those who won’t. Obviously if the flat foot is causing the child pain, then it probably should be treated. So should the flat foot in a growing child be treated if it is not causing any problems? If both parents have a flat foot that is a problem, then it might be safe to assume that the child might not grow out of it. If it particularly severe in appearance it probably should be treated. Sometimes the child just has tired legs at the end of a busy and physically active day. This decision to treat or not treat is a conversation that parents need to have with a health professional that is experienced and aware of all these issues.

There is plenty that parents can do and the most important is to allow the foot to develop normally. Footwear should allow the foot to develop and grow normally with nothing in the design of the shoes that can inhibit that. There are plenty of mobility and strengthening exercises that can be prescribed and often just going barefoot can help build up the strength of the muscles in the foot. Foot orthotics are an option to help encourage the foot to develop normally, but some consider these an overtreatment unless the problem is painful or particularly bad.

Another option is something like the children’s Archies which are the smaller version of a very popular flip flop that has an arch built into it. These Archies for kids have a moderate arch support and come in bright colours which the kids just love to wear. They certainly do not have a clinical feel to them and they are certainly an acceptable option to foot orthotics for the minor cases of persistent flat feet and probably certainly could help a foot that is developing with this problem to grow out of it. Most importantly if your child has a foot problem that you are concerned about then go and see a podiatrist about your concerns. They are in the best position to decide if it will be naturally grown out of or needs to be treated.

About the Author

Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.

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Author: Craig Payne
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Craig Payne

Member since: Aug 16, 2020
Published articles: 120

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