Children’s Podiatry – Flat Feet

Flat feet in children is often a concern for many parents. When a child is referred to having flatfeet, it means that the inner arch of the foot is flat in shape and is in touch with the ground during standing.  This is mainly due to the bones of the foot not wedging during the growth of the child to form an arch like shape, overstretched and lax ligaments, muscular problems, tears and deformities, tendons and neurological disorders.  Children with flatfeet also present with a genetic trait and most children have parents, sibling or a relative with the same problem.

Flat feet presents in two forms:

Flexible flatfeet deformity:  Although flexibility is normal and present in children feet, children with flatfeet present with arches that collapse and fall therefore is flat and almost horizontal with the ground during a weightbearing position.  In non weightbearing positions and when the big toe is raised from the floor, the arch restores its normal shape and contour. Flexible flatfeet usually does not cause pain.  Wearing out the inner aspect of shoes is common.

Rigid Flatfeet deformity:  Children with flatfeet can develop rigidity as they grow older.  This referred to as flatffeet with restricted and limited joint range of motion in the joints of the foot.  In a non weightbearing position the arch is still flat and collapsed. Children with rigid flatfeet usually are symptomatic and suffer from aches and pains especially those who participate in sports.  Excess wearing out of shoes on one side is also present in this case.  

Diagnosis will be determined by your Podiatrist through a biomechanical examination that assesses the childs signs/symptms, foot examination and testing and the childs gait.

Treatment usually involves the use of arch inserts as the child grows to provide the correct foot alignment.  Strengthening and stretching exercises are also utilised in the treatment plan.

If you are concerned about your child’s flat feet, let us put your mind at ease. At Bankstown Podiatry Clinic, our podiatrists can help with a range of conditions – call us for a friendly chat on (02) 9791 5798 or visit our conveniently located offices in Bankstown or Five Dock, Sydney.