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Flat feet

Flat feet

Flat feet

Flat feet is a condition in which the foot doesn't have a normal arch. It may affect one foot or both feet. At first, all babies' feet look flat because an arch hasn't formed yet. Arches should form by the time your child is 2 or 3 years old. Flat feet, even in older children, usually do not cause any problems. The condition is hereditary.

Signs of flat feet

  • The disappearance of the arch when your child stands up
  • Ankles roll inward when walking
  • Pain over the arch or bottom of the foot, usually while walking or running
  • Pain in the knee or limping due to pain after strenuous activity

Diagnosing flat feet

Diagnosing flexible flat foot is usually done by a physical examination of your child’s foot. The doctor can see if the arch is lower or gone while your child is standing, and then reappears when your child sits down or stands on their tiptoes.

Most flat feet are caused by loose joint connections and baby fat between the foot bones. The most common type of flat foot is “flexible flat foot” (FFF). Children with FFF have flexibility in their feet. When they stand, the arch of their foot disappears and the bottom of the foot appears flat. The arch reappears when their big toe is raised or when they are off their feet. This form of flat feet is painless. The other type of flat footedness, “rigid flat feet” (RFF), is more serious. The feet of these children are rigid and less flexible, the arch doesn’t reappear and their feet may be painful.

Evaluation and treatment of flat feet

Treatment plans may vary depending upon the severity of the condition:

Exercises – Your child’s doctor may recommend stretching exercises for the heel cord.

Orthotics – In some cases, orthotics, or shoe inserts, offer support and may relieve your child’s foot pain and fatigue. Inserts in your child’s shoes also decrease the amount of pronation.