Pediatric Flatfoot

There are a lot of things that are just meant to be flat: pancakes, farm fields, televisions (who would go back to those heavy TVs with knobs?). Feet are not one of these things. A semi-flexible arch supports our bodies. Just as a bridge without an arched truss would not stand, flatfeet cause a lot of issues.

Flatfeet in children is usually a result of genetics (as compared to adults, which happens because of external factors). It typically appears between ages one and ten. Pediatric flatfoot can occur with or without symptoms. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain or cramping in the foot, ankle, or leg
  • Soreness in the knees
  • Reduced energy during physical activities
  • Difficulty wearing shoes

An FAAWC podiatrist will examine your child’s flat feet. We will look at their feet while your child is standing, sitting, and walking. X-rays will show how far the foot has flattened and if it has affected other structures. Sometimes we need an MRI to look more closely at the tendons and joints.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

  • Temporary immobilization
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Activity modification
  • Shoe changes
  • Physical therapy

A functional arch support—aka, orthotic—can help both symptomatic and asymptomatic flatfeet. Orthotics give patients the best possible support and function, and they can often prevent more serious issues that result from flatfeet.

You may wonder: will my child’s flatfeet need surgery? Some children have symptoms that do not improve with other treatment options. Your child may also need surgery when their flatfeet are likely to cause more debilitating issues with time. Surgery will correct the deformity and restore normal alignment. Your child’s degree of deformity will determine the type of surgery we perform.

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