Pediatric Flatfoot: How Serious Is It?

Expectations in life are important. Case in point: knowing how many guests are attending your wedding helps to determine how big the cake needs to be. From nuptials to honeymoon to establishing your family and having children, you have certain expectations. New parents typically expect their firstborn to be healthy with normal foot arches—or at least to see them when the child begins walking.

If a son or daughter has pediatric flatfoot, it might cause concern or confusion, but at Advanced Foot and Ankle we can assure you that there isn’t likely anything to be worried about.

Foot Arch Development

The first thing to know when it comes to the development of foot arches is that they generally do not begin appearing until around the age of 3. Prior to this, early foot arches do actually exist but are obscured by a layer of padding. What this means is that a toddler will begin taking those first steps on feet that are quite flat. Realize that this is completely normal as it relates to child foot development and should not be a cause for concern.

Flexible Flatfoot Explained

After 3 years of age, his or her foot arches might begin to emerge. Even so, there are many children who still appear to have flatfoot when they walk or stand. This is a fairly common condition known as flexible flatfoot. Arches can usually be observed when a child is sitting and his or her legs are dangling (there is no weight on the feet) or when standing on tiptoes. This condition may be present until around the age of 8, at which point foot arches are normally quite developed and become stronger.

Flexible flatfoot is not painful for the majority of children who have it, but symptoms might be present when the condition extends into the adolescent years. A symptom of particular concern is pain that is experienced along the bottom of the feet. If your son or daughter has foot discomfort, contact our office and schedule an appointment so we can provide the treatment he or she needs.

Treating Cases of Flatfoot

As we discuss flatfoot treatment options, it is important to note that professional care for the condition is only really necessary when pain is present. If you observe that your child has flexible flatfoot but there are not any symptoms present, then it is nothing to be worried about. However, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on the situation to make sure things do not take a turn for the worse.

When treatment is necessary for alleviating symptoms or relieving any pain experienced, conservative treatment options like physical therapy, stretching routines, and custom orthotic devices often prove to be quite effective. In rare instances, surgical procedures are the best treatment for an arch issue, but this is something we would prefer to postpone until your child is older.

Pediatric Foot Care in Twin Falls, ID

While the vast majority of pediatric flatfoot cases do not require treatment, or even resolve on their own as a child develops, we can monitor your child’s foot development and provide peace of mind. In the event your son or daughter does require treatment for the condition, we will do so in gentle, comfortable manner.

Advanced Foot and Ankle is committed to providing exceptional pediatric foot care that addresses a wide range of medical issues, relieves painful symptoms, and ensures healthy development for our young patients. If your child is experiencing pain or restricted mobility, contact us by calling (208) 731-6321 or use our online form to request an appointment at either our Twin Falls or Burley, ID offices today.