Flat Feet in Children


If your little one has flat feet, it’s quite easy to be worried about them. But truth is, there may be nothing for you to get fussy about. In fact, flat foot is considered normal in infants and younger children. If you notice flat feet when your child is from zero to four years old and there are no other symptoms, treatment may be something you should forego altogether. 


As your child’s muscles strengthen and the soft tissues stiffen, his or her flat foot would probably correct itself on its own. A child’s foot arch may increase its height up until the age of nine. The problem begins when your child ages and the flat foot persists because then, it’s often associated with pain and even disability.


What Causes Flat Feet?

A foot’s anatomy and its ability to function as it should depend a lot on a complex network of ligaments, bones, nerves, and muscles both within and above the foot itself. If anything interrupts these structures, it may lead to a collapsed arch and ultimately cause symptomatic flat feet.


Please know that when a child has symptomatic flat foot, an examination of the child’s overall health may be required. This is because there are some disorders that may be the cause of his or her flat feet, including muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, juvenile arthritis, connective tissue disorders, or some inherited disorders that affect the nervous system.


The flat foot can also be attributed to unusual anatomy like bones that are joined together, damage in the ligaments or muscles, outward lower leg rotation, ankle movement restriction, and more. Additionally, obesity can also result in collapsed arches because of the increased weight carried by the foot.


There are older children who develop flat feet even in the absence of any of the mentioned disorders. In this case, you should understand the role of small foot muscles in stabilizing the arch.


Do Flat Feet Need Treatment?

Flat feet need treatment only if they are directly associated with discomfort or pain or decreased function. Finding out the underlying cause, of course, should be prioritized. Treatment of the symptom may be  necessary. Make sure that you also check your child’s footwear before you try other approaches, as that may be contributing to the symptoms.


If your child’s daily life is impacted by the way their feet look or function, then the issues that are associated with those flat feet should definitely be addressed.