29 Jan Do Children With Flat Feet Need Treatment?
If you’re a parent concerned by a less-than-perfect arch on the bottom of your child’s foot, you’re not alone; the condition is a common source of parental angst. After all, flat feet can be painful and can affect a child’s athletic ability.
Children are diagnosed with flat feet when the arch running along the length of the foot is low or absent, but do flat feet need early treatment or are they something children simply “grow out of?”
Many children with flat feet end up with orthotics, which are shoe inserts that help correct the foot’s alignment. These are usually made-to-measure for each individual.
Between 3 and 13 per cent of kids have flat feet and the condition is more common in younger children. In fact, some degree of flat footedness that reduces with age is considered normal up until around the age of eight or nine.
The typically flat-footed child has what’s known as a flexible flat foot, where the arch is present but disappears when the foot bears weight. When this is associated with symptoms such as pain or disability, treatment should be offered.
The debate surrounds those cases where children have no symptoms, this is the most common scenario and whether to treat them just in cases problems develop down the track. Most doctors suggest symptomless flat feet that are diagnosed as being purely developmental should be left untreated.
On the other hand, children without symptoms and feet flatter than you would expect for their age need monitoring over time to see which way they are heading. Red flags could be changes in foot posture and other measurements, along with issues like a family history of problematic flat feet.
Cheaper treatment options
Even if your child does need treatment, it doesn’t need to break the bank. Few children really need customized orthotics and there are many low-cost generic orthotics that can be very helpful. Most often, simple footwear advice is all that’s required. A well-fitted, supportive shoe with built-in arch support is generally best. Stretching the calf muscle and arching the foot to strengthen it may also be helpful.
Dr. Donald Stran is a Podiatrist serving the Houston and Friendswood areas. To learn more about his procedures or to schedule an appointment please call any of our locations listed below.
Friendswood: (281) 992-0006
Missouri City: (281) 741-3017
Lake Jackson: (979) 297-8500