MY KIDS HAVE FLAT FEET: IS THIS NORMAL? COMMON QUESTIONS WE ARE ASKED BY PARENTS IN THE CLINIC
Flat feet in children are commonly a major concern for parents. Studies have shown that children are often brought into see a podiatrist because of the appearance of their feet and their gait when they first begin to walk. I’m going to go through the two most common questions we get asked in the clinic by parents and answer them for you, with the aim of putting your mind at ease.
Question 1: Does this need to be fixed?
The short answer is that in most cases there is not a need for intervention. Children are born with flat feet. In almost all cases, there is a large fat pad on the inside arch of the foot that slowly decreases in size as the child grows. The longitudinal arch (this is what parents are concerned about) is actually absent at birth and develops slowly during childhood, usually by about the age of five to six. In some cases it can take a few years longer to develop, but this still does not normally cause any pain or problems. Having a flattened arch is beneficial to a child when they start to walk and experience different terrains to try and keep their balance on.
In some cases, we may recommend some treatment, whether it comes in the form of footwear, orthotic therapy or exercises. If your child is in pain when walking, we can assess their feet and observe how they walk to determine what might be causing this.
Questions 2: Will he/she need special shoes?
Contrary to popular belief, studies have actually shown that wearing shoes all the time before the age of six may contribute to a failure of the development of the arch. Conversely, delaying shoe wearing all the time may decrease the likelihood of the arch underdeveloping. It is important to remember this is not the case 100% of the time and that supportive footwear may be necessary to assist in the development of the child’s feet as they grow. As I have mentioned earlier, we will be more than happy to assess whether we believe your child/children would benefit from supportive footwear.
Children are born with flat feet and it is normal for the arches to be flat during the early stages of their development. However if your child is in pain when they walk, or you notice only one of the feet has a flat arch come into the clinic and see either myself or Justin and we will be more than happy to assess your child/children and discuss any possible treatment plans for them
Stay safe and see you guys in the clinic!
Richard – Sole Lution Podiatry
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