Flat Feet in Children

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baby feet

Flat Feet in Children

What are flat feet in children?

Parents often bring their child to see our podiatrists because their child has flat feet. They may identify what appear to be ‘fallen’ or ‘collapsed’ arches. In most cases, this is completely normal. But it’s best to see a podiatrist when:

  • Flat feet are painful or fatigue quickly

  • Flat feet are rigid rather than flexible

  • Only one foot is affected

  • A child with flat feet is not as active as children of the same age

  • Flat feet appear to be causing shoes to wear out faster than they should

What causes flat feet in children?

Babies’ feet may appear to be flat because the fat pad, which eventually ends up underneath the heel, hides the arch. And young children have very flexible joints, which allow the arch to flatten more. While the arches may not be visible when standing, they will be visible when the feet are off the ground. The arches should also be visible when a child is standing on their tiptoes. Most children develop an arch that is visible while standing when they are around 6 years old. However, some children never develop an arch. In this case, there may be a family history of flat feet. The good news is that most children that have flat feet do not experience long-term problems or pain.

child with flat feet

Treatment for flat feet in children

Our podiatrists are experienced in the assessment and management of children’s foot problems. They will ask you and your child some questions (birth, developmental, family and medical history) and assess your child’s legs and feet. If treatment is required, the recommended options will be explained to you and your child. Treatment options for problematic flat feet in children include pain management strategies, footwear advice, orthotics, and stretching and strengthening exercises. In most cases, flat feet are deemed to be normal and just need to be monitored.