When someone is said to have flat feet, it simply means their feet have no arches. The concern is because the arch helps make the foot stronger. Most of the time individuals who have flat feet overpronate, which means they roll the feet inward too far. This can make them more vulnerable to foot injuries and conditions. Most of the time flat feet occur in adults, but flat feet in children does occur. When should you worry if you notice your children have flat feet?
When to Worry About Flat Feet in Children
When a child is born, they have no arches in their feet. They don’t even begin to develop until a child is two or three years old. Usually, the feet have fully formed arches by the time the child is six. If your child does not have arches by six, you should see a podiatrist. Of course, at any age, if you notice your child walks awkwardly or complains about foot pain, it should raise concerns. If a child avoids activities involving walking or running that they enjoyed previously or if they complain about their legs being tired, see a podiatrist. These symptoms could indicate flat feet.
What Can Be Done About Flat Feet in Children?
There are many options for children with flat feet. A podiatrist may suggest supportive shoes or may be able to prescribe a heel cup, orthotic or shoe insert to help promote normal growth or relieve pain. A podiatrist may also prescribe certain exercises to help relieve any pain the child is experiencing.
Poorly fitting shoes can be a hindrance to the normal growth of a child’s feet. The podiatrist may recommend shopping at a special shoe store where a trained staff can help fit shoes properly. When it is appropriate, the child may also be able to go barefoot, which helps develop both strength and coordination.
If you suspect your child is suffering from flat feet, Dr. Richard Nicols can perform an examination and make a proper diagnosis. The sooner you treat flat feet in children, the better.