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Are you suspecting that your child has flat feet but unsure if that’s the case?
In this article, we’ll explain what flat feet in children look like, why they occur, and how to deal with them. Your question, “My child has flat feet, what do I do?” is about to be answered!
What Are Flat Feet in Children?
Flat feet, also scientifically known as pes valgus or pes planus, is when a child’s entire foot touches the floor when they stand. Instead of having a slightly arched centre, the sole is completely flat.
However, if you have an infant or toddler with this condition, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions and assume it’ll stay this way. Chances are his or her little feet will develop arches later on when they’re not as flexible as they are under the age of six.
What Causes Flat Feet in Children?
In most cases, genetics are to blame for flat feet in children. More often than not, a kid will inherit this condition from their parents as an isolated trait.
It’s still quite surprising to know that some children can develop flat feet as they grow up. Here are a few things that may increase the chances of having flat feet in children:
- Ankle or foot injuries
- Tight heel cords
- Muscle problems
In some scenarios, having flat feet may not be something to worry about as long as it doesn’t cause pain. If that’s the case, a doctor may simply say that treatment isn’t necessary.
Yet, you’ll need to take action if your child struggles with the following symptoms that are usually associated with flat feet:
- Swelling in the ankle
- Foot pain in the heel or arch area, increasing with exertion
- Ankle or knee pain
My Child Has Flat Feet — What Next?
There are several things you can do for your child to help them overcome this problem, but it’s a must to pay a UK podiatrist a visit first. This way, the doctor will give you the right diagnosis and determine whether or not your child will even need treatment.
See a Podiatrist
At the podiatrist’s, you should expect the following:
- Questions to your child to describe the pain in his or her feet or ankle (if there’s any)
- Physical examination
- Requests for your child to walk, run, or simply stand to take a good look at his or her feet mechanics
The doctor might also ask to see the shoes that your child wears every day to have the full picture of what may be causing the pain.
Oftentimes, a podiatrist may order several imaging tests if the pain is intense, including:
- CT scan
- EOS imaging
Pain-relieving Non-surgical Treatments
A podiatrist may suggest one or more of these treatments based on the level of pain associated with your child’s flat feet.
Shoe Inserts and Supportive Shoes
When used under the doctor’s supervision, shoe inserts that help relieve pain and support your child’s foot arch can be a wonderful idea. They’re available as both over-the-counter products or custom-made ones.
In addition to arch supports, the doctor might encourage your child to wear supportive shoes instead of loose-fitting footwear such as:
Footwear such as even the best kids wellies, are very flat. As are football shoes and so on.
If your child is struggling with obesity, their best bet is to lose that extra weight as it may be the reason why their flat feet hurt more than they should.
A balanced diet under a doctor’s guidance is the right way to go down that road.
Because flat feet can affect the performance of the feet during physical activity, your child might be prone to more injuries.
Therefore, a lot of doctors advise that your child see a physical therapist to help them align their body correctly and maintain a good form. This is especially important if your child is into sports.
Medications and Rest
Sometimes, it’s as simple as taking a painkiller and resting for a few days to overcome the pain. This is usually the answer if your child’s condition is mild and doesn’t require any other form of treatment.
Surgery is rarely the solution to flexible flat feet. Yet, a doctor may still recommend it for children who have related leg problems, such as a fusion between the bones in the foot or a torn tendon.
“My child has flat feet — what do I do?” is a question any parent might ask one day.
Hopefully, after reading our article, you now know that flat feet aren’t something to worry about as most kids grow out of them. Even if they don’t, the condition doesn’t require treatment unless it’s painful.
If it is, your first step towards solving this problem is by consulting a podiatrist. The expert will let you know the best route you should take to treat flat feet.