It’s a little-known fact that babies are often born with naturally flat feet, which can often remain that way far into their toddler years and in some cases, into their childhood. When we’re born, our bones are still in the midst of growing and solidifying and in the early years, they remain flexible to an extent, particularly in our feet. This, of course, corresponds with flat feet even as they begin to walk.
This particular condition can continue until around age 6, when the arch in the feet develops and the bones become less like cartilage and more like the standard bones around our body. However, around 1-2 in every 10 children don’t develop this arch and can continue to have flat feet as they grow and develop into their teens and into adulthood. What many parents are concerned about, however, is when flat feet can become a problem, when they might need treatment and what that treatment entails. We’re exploring exactly that, below.
Does My Child Have Flat Feet?
Determining whether your child has flat feet is relatively simple – this condition is defined as being when the sole of the foot lacks the natural arch present in most adults. The base of the foot will touch the ground from the heel, through to the big toe with no gap between the floor and the foot. If your child has this, they are likely suffering from flat feet.
Do I Need To Treat Flat Feet?
In most cases, treatment isn’t required for any child with flat feet. This is because they typically develop the arch naturally on their own as their bones become less flexible and their posture changes. Between birth and age six, children go through a number of structural changes in their legs and feet. This includes the development from a bow-legged stance to a knock-kneed one, and, of course, flat feet to a natural arch. They will also begin to develop a more noticeable and distinguishable foot shape, whether that’s short and square, long and slender, triangular or hyper-mobile.
After six years of age, persistent flat feet can be a result of biomechanical issues, potentially caused by any abnormalities during their development. Generally speaking, it’s only at this point that you should consider treating the issue unless the child is experiencing pain.
Even at six years old, however, a child can still be developing and, if they are not experiencing any other symptoms, can be monitored but otherwise be left without treatment under the advice of a GP or podiatrist. If they are experiencing pain or discomfort or if their feet are stiff.
How Can I Treat Severe Cases Of Flat Feet In Children?
Treatment of flat feet in children will depend on the cause, symptoms and, in some cases, the age of the child. Generally speaking, your child’s clinician will likely recommend orthotic insoles to provide support and while these can’t create the arch for them, it will provide enough support to relieve pressure, pain and discomfort. FootActive Kids insoles are available and will suit most shoe types, including school shoes and sportswear.
If flat feet is due to tightness in the heel cord, also known as the Achilles Tendon, then certain exercises may be needed to stretch this out and relieve the tightness. This will ultimately help to improve motion over time and lengthen the heel chord which may repair flat feet. If your child has truly rigid feet, this may require medical attention but isn’t often seen until the teenage years.
If you’re unsure about the severity of your child’s flat feet or they are experiencing any pain, you should visit a paediatrician. Any child suffering from foot pain, sores, pressure areas, limited motion or numbness, in particular, should always visit the doctor.
If the pain or discomfort is minimal, insoles may provide relief, though any parents who are unsure can seek advice from a pharmacist or clinician first. For more information about our range of children’s insoles, simply get in touch with a member of our team, today.