Kids Foot Problems – Flat Feet & Long-Term Foot Care
Does your child have flat feet? He or she is not alone, and while many children outgrow flat feet, others do not, and serious, painful complications can arise.
Flat feet are when the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened, allowing the entire soles of your feet to touch the floor when you stand up. As a young child, flat feet are fairly common; up to 44% of children ages 3-6 are flat footed. The height of the arch in the foot increases with age until about nine years, so often the condition will naturally correct with time. However, if it doesn’t, flat feet can sometimes contribute to foot problems and impact ankles and knees because the condition can alter the alignment of your legs. This can be painful and even debilitating, especially during weight-bearing activities such as walking or standing.
Flat Foot Causes
A flat foot is normal in infants and toddlers, because the foot’s arch hasn’t yet developed. Some children have flexible flat foot, which means that the arch is visible when the child is sitting or standing on tiptoes but disappears when the child stands. Often, flat feet go away as an arch develops while children age; Only about 1 or 2 out of every 10 children will continue to have flat feet into adulthood. However, the foot is a complex and sophisticated interaction of bones, ligaments, muscles and nerves. Anything that interrupts the integrity of these structures can lead to a collapsed arch and thus cause symptomatic flat feet.
If you or your child are experiencing foot pain, contact our specialists at Corona Foot and Ankle. In some cases, imaging testing, such as x-rays, may be warranted to determine if either of you are suffering from flat feet. Flat feet are correlated with an increased propensity for tendon injuries. In this case, imaging like an ultrasound may be warranted in order to observe detailed images of the soft tissue in your foot and ankle.
If flat feet are causing you discomfort, you’ll likely want to try non-surgical options first. One of our foot specialists may recommend orthotic devices like arch support, stretching exercises, supportive shoes, and/or physical therapy. Something as simple as over-the-counter arch supports may help relieve the pain caused by flat feet, or one of our doctors may recommend custom-designed arch supports molded to the contours of your feet. Similarly, supportive shoes can be bought at nearly every shoe store, or custom ordered to help relieve the specific pain you feel. A shortened Achilles tendon is often associated with flat feet, and so stretching exercises that focus specifically on stretching the Achilles tendon may help.
Flat foot reconstruction is a combination of surgical procedures that repair the foot’s ligaments and tendons and correct deformities of the bones to restore and support the arch. Dr. Lee is a surgeon at Corona Foot and Ankle who can provide needed surgeries to children, primarily ages 12-14, who still suffer from painful flat feet. These surgical adjustments can reduce pain and help your child return to an active lifestyle. To find out more about flat foot condition and the solutions available for your child, please contact us here. At Corona Foot and Ankle, our experts know that managing the underlying cause or disease is of highest priority; just treating the symptoms should be secondary. We want to get to the root cause of what’s causing pain in your child’s foot and help relieve that so they can go back to living an active, foot pain-free lifestyle.