Flatfoot is a foot with a low or absent arch along its inner border. In an otherwise normal child, this condition is known as flexible flatfoot.
Flatfoot in Children
A flatfoot is a foot with a low or absent arch along its inner border. In an otherwise normal child, this condition is known as flexible flatfoot
Varying degrees of flexible flatfoot are to be expected at some point in a child’s life, particularly in the first few years of life
Despite having the potential to cause the parent much distress, this condition is very common in young individuals and most outgrow the condition with age
A general exam of the child is used to make a diagnosis of flexible flatfoot. The exam includes an evaluation of
Gait and ability to walk on the heals and tips of toes
The degree of laxity in the child’s ligaments
Limb alignment and foot anatomy
During the exam, the child will be asked to stand on his or her tiptoes. During this stance, the arch will be recreated in individuals with flexible flatfoot
Radiographic imaging may be used to assess flatfoot severity, but is not typically required in mild cases
Current medical literature shows no benefit of corrective shoes or arch supports in the treatment of flexible flatfoot.
In the setting of pain, an ill-fitting shoe is like treating a headache with rock music. On the other hand, a proper fitting athletic shoe is like classical music to help soothe the discomfort. Thus, properly fitted athletic shoes are very important in preventing injury and reducing pain
In some instances, an over-the-counter orthotic may be suggested to provide comfort. Blue Insole Superfeet are fairly inexpensive and widely available (at Sports Chalet, Chick’s, REI, and Nordstrom’s)
Surgery is only recommended in rare instances. Most children that require surgical intervention have severe flexible flatfoot and are not considered for surgery until 8 to 9 years of age
Regardless of the treatment, the child should be regularly checked by his or her orthopedist to ensure proper bony growth and development