Children's Feet Need Love. Part 2
By Dr. Bruce Theall
December 11, 2014
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Heel pain   orthotics   flat feet  

Flat Feet are another common concern that many parents have about their children's  feet. Flat feet in children after age 4 is cause for significant concern,  There is also a high chance that flat feet in childhood may lead to foot problems later in life due to a child's developing body using other muscles, tendons, and bones to compensate for the lack of support in the structure of the foot. It is recommended that your flat-footed child wear arch supports, orthotics and supportive shoes to ensure that the foot develops in a way that is consistent with proper weight bearing later in life.

Most importantly if one or both parents have flat feet it is likely their children will too. The flatfoot deformity in children causes a number of changes to the structure of the foot which is easily recognizable by the trained podiatrist. Flatfoot deformity causes the inside arch to be flattened, causes the heel bone to be turned outward, and causes the inside aspect of the foot to appear more bowed outward than normal. children with flatfoot deformity may have complaints in the foot such as arch, heel or ankle pain which is generally associated with increased standing, walking or running activities. However, since the excessive rolling inward of the arches of the foot also make the leg and knee more turned inwards, children with flat feet may also complain of pain in the low back, hip, knee, or legs.  

During the examination of the child, the podiatrist is looking for abnormal structure or function of the foot.  X-rays may be taken of the foot if a significant pathology is noted or suspected. The more severe the flatfoot deformity and the more significant the complaints  in the foot or lower extremity, then the more likely the podiatrist will recommend specific treatment for the flatfoot deformity. If the child has a mild flatfoot deformity and no symptoms, then generally no treatment is recommended other than possibly yearly check-ups by the podiatrist. If, however, the child has a moderate to severe flatfoot deformity and does have significant symptoms in the foot or lower extremity, treatment generally starts with both supportive shoes, such as high tops, and some form of in-shoe insert such as arch padding for the milder cases of flatfoot deformity.

More significant cases of flatfoot deformity may require more exacting control of the abnormal motion of the foot such as custom orthotics. If the child has a severe flatfoot deformity and disabling symptoms which does not respond to foot orthotics, shoes and/or stretching, then foot surgery to correct the flatfoot deformity may be indicated. Flatfoot surgery is done only for those children with the most severe deformities. Of course, the benefits of the surgery should be considered along with the risks associated with the surgery and a second surgical opinion is always recommended when considering flatfoot surgery on your child. Call Gentle Touch Foot Care at 973 673-3668 for an appoitment for a full consultation.