Flat Feet in Children: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Flat feet, which are also called pes planus or pes valgus, have a flatter bottom than normal feet. When standing up straight, the sole may touch the floor.
Because their arches have not fully grown, babies and toddlers have flat feet. For most people, the arch of the foot grows throughout childhood, but some people never develop arches. Flat feet can develop in adults in some situations, however, this is not the same condition as “flexible flat feet.”
Flat feet are a relatively prevalent ailment that is passed down through families. This condition is harmless; however, it can impair body alignment, causing knee and ankle pain.
Arches are known to deteriorate and fall as a result of aging or injury. There is no need for medicine to treat flat feet if your child’s feet are not causing you pain or suffering.
Symptoms of Flat Feet in Children
In most cases, flat feet have no symptoms, and the people who have them have no complaints. But those who experience discomfort may have the following symptoms:
- They may experience tight heel cords
- Foot pain that increases over time with activity
- May have ankle swelling
- Foot pain especially on the heel or arch area
How Do You Know Your Child Has Flat Feet?
You will know your child has rigid flat feet when they start complaining about pain or discomfort when they are standing. The child may also literally develop flat feet, for instance, the foot lies flat on the ground.
When you are standing behind the child you may likely see the outer toes but not the big ones, you will also see an outward tilt at the heels and awkwardness when the child is walking.
The child may also experience difficulty when moving the foot up and down or side to side and pain when putting on the shoes.
Flat Feet Diagnosis And Testing
A physical examination by a healthcare provider, who will look for an absence of an arch, excessive rolling in of the ankle, and an atypical pattern of wear on the shoe bottoms, is commonly used to diagnose a child’s flat feet. To evaluate the child’s stride, the healthcare provider may also ask them to stand on their toes or walk.
Imaging studies such as x-rays or MRIs may be utilized in addition to a physical examination to further examine the status of the foot and ankle.
Treatment for flat feet in children is rarely essential because the issue frequently improves on its own as the kid grows. If the youngster is in pain or having problems with physical activity, treatment may include:
- Orthotics or arch supports
- Stretching exercises
- Physical therapy
- Shoe inserts
- Surgery in severe cases.
It’s important to consult with a pediatrician or orthopedic specialist to determine the best course of treatment for a child with flat feet.
Is Surgery Necessary To Correct Flat Feet in Children?
Surgery is typically only considered for children with flat feet as a last resort when all other forms of treatment have been exhausted and the child is still experiencing pain or difficulty with physical activities.
The most common surgical procedure for flat feet in children is called an osteotomy, which involves cutting and repositioning the bones in the foot to create a more normal arch. This procedure is typically used for children with a condition called tarsal coalition, which occurs when two or more bones in the foot fuse together and prevent the foot from moving normally.
Another surgical procedure is the posterior tibial tendon transfer, which is used when there is a failure of the posterior tibial tendon which is the main tendon that supports the arch of the foot.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Flat Foot Surgery?
A lot of flat feet surgery patients can leave the hospital the same day after the surgery, after being taught how to walk on crutches. After the surgery, the foot will be in a plaster cast which will remain for at least 6 weeks. The child must not play or run around with the feet as they should be well rested. The child’s doctor will give some instructions on how to take care of the foot until it is fully recovered.
Risks Associated With Not Treating Flat Feet In Children
If left untreated, flat feet in children can lead to several problems, including:
- Overpronation: This occurs when the arch of the foot collapses, causing the foot to roll inward and the ankle to tilt outward. Overpronation can lead to pain and injuries in the feet, ankles, knees, and hips.
- Shin splints: These are common overuse injuries that can occur as a result of flat feet. They can cause pain in the front of the lower leg and can be caused by the overpronation
- Knee pain: Flat feet can also cause pain in the knees, particularly in the inner knee.
- Back pain: Flat feet can cause an imbalance in the body, which can lead to pain in the lower back.
- Limited physical activity: Children with flat feet may have difficulty participating in physical activities such as running and jumping, which can affect their overall health and fitness levels.
It is important to note that not all children with flat feet will develop these problems, and early treatment can prevent or mitigate these risks. A foot specialist should be consulted to evaluate and treat flat feet in children.
Why Choose Rogers Foot And Ankle Institute
Rogers Foot and Ankle Institute has the best team of doctors who specialize in foot and ankle surgery. All the doctors combined have years of experience in treating foot problems such as flat feet, sprained ankles, arthritis, tendonitis, and many more. We offer the best unique, individualized care in Eagle Mountain, UT.
Contact us today at 801-756-4200 to make an appointment.
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