Does your child have flat feet? If so, you might be very concerned about it and wondering what you can do to help them.
The good news is that, if your child is still just a baby or toddler, you shouldn’t be too worried about their flat feet. Almost all children have flat feet when they’re on the younger side. The vast majority of them will begin to develop arches in their feet before long.
But there are some children who might need to have pediatric podiatry services performed on their feet if they remain flat. They may have to perform exercises for flat feet or even go through surgical flat feet treatment to fix this particular problem.
Before you run right down to a podiatry clinic with your child in tow, you should learn more about flat feet in children. It’ll give you a better understanding of what steps you and your child should take next.
What Are Flat Feet?
Flat feet are some of the most common foot problems among young children. If your child has flat feet, their feet won’t have any arches in them.
You should pay close attention to your child’s feet as they start to get older. If the bottom of their feet touch the ground when they’re standing still, this means they have flat feet.
As we alluded to earlier, just about all babies and toddlers will have flat feet to some degree. You won’t have to worry about your child’s feet being flat when they still fall into one of these age groups.
But if you notice that your child’s feet remain flat when they’re out of the toddler stage, that might be a cause for concern.
What Are the Different Types of Flat Feet?
There are actually a couple of different types of flat feet that’ll need to be on your radar when it comes to your child. It’ll give you a better idea of what’s going on with your child’s feet when they look like they’re flatter than they should be.
The first type of flat feet in children is called flexible flat feet. If your child has flexible flat feet, there won’t be any arch in their feet when they’re walking around. There will, however, be an arch in their feet when they’re either sitting down or standing up on their tippy toes.
The second type of flat feet in children is called rigid flat feet. If your child has rigid flat feet, they won’t have an arch in their feet no matter what. Regardless of whether they’re walking, sitting, or even standing up on their tippy toes, their feet will remain flat.
If you suspect your child might have flat feet, you should watch them when they’re walking, sitting, and standing on their tippy toes to see which of these two categories they fall into with their flat feet.
What Causes Flat Feet?
As we said back at the beginning, it’s not out of the ordinary at all for babies and toddlers to have flat feet. Many children are simply born with flat feet before eventually growing out of them.
But there are several causes of flat feet that might be impacting your child. Flat feet can be caused by things like:
- Leg muscle issues
- Very tight Achilles tendons, which are also sometimes referred to as “tight heel cords”
- Problems with the formation of the bones in the feet
There is also some evidence that suggests that flat feet may run in families. So if you had flat feet when you were younger or if you still have them now, that could help explain why your child may have flat feet.
Additionally, there are certain genetic disorders that can cause flat feet. Osteogenesis imperfecta and Down syndrome are just a couple of the disorders that can lead to a child experiencing flat feet.
What Are the Flat Feet Symptoms?
If you believe your child might be suffering from flat feet, it’ll often be very easy to tell. When you look at your child’s feet, you’ll be able to see them pressing up against the ground beneath them without any arches in sight. This might be the only flat feet symptom you need to see.
But it’s worth noting that you should also listen to your child if they ever tell you that they’re experiencing any pain in their feet. This is another flat feet symptom that can sometimes go undetected since young children aren’t always able to explain the aches and pains they might be feeling.
It’s better to be safe than sorry if your child ever tells you that they’re having foot pain. They could have flat feet, or they could have another condition that is causing them to experience foot pain long before they should ever have to worry about dealing with it.
What Issues Can Flat Feet Cause?
Initially, the fact that your child has flat feet won’t be all that worrisome. Even with flat feet, your child will be able to learn to walk and get around on their own just like other children.
But as time goes on, your child might be subjected to foot pain caused by their flat feet. They might also have pain in their ankles and even their knees because of their flat feet.
If your child goes on to play sports, their flat feet could affect them in this arena, too. They might not be quite as fast and light on their feet as they would be otherwise if they had arches in their feet.
For each of these reasons, you might want to explore the possibility of having them go through pediatric podiatry treatments. It’ll fix their flat feet and stop them from creating problems later on in your child’s life.
How Are Flat Feet Diagnosed?
Just like it’s pretty easy for you to tell when your child has flat feet, it’s also going to be very easy for a doctor to diagnose your child with flat feet in most cases. All they’ll need to do is ask you and your child some basic questions about their feet and put them through a quick examination to see where their feet stand.
A doctor may opt to send your child for X-rays on their feet, though, just to rule out the possibility of there being something else wrong with their feet. They might also want to have your child get X-rays so that they’re able to see just how bad their flat feet really are.
Do Flat Feet Always Need to Be Treated?
If your child is diagnosed with flat feet, you might automatically think the worst. You may be under the impression that your child will need to undergo surgery or some other type of flat feet treatment to fix their feet.
But in reality, most pediatric podiatry clinics won’t recommend that a child have any flat feet treatment done unless their feet are giving them problems. The only thing that a doctor might suggest is that you pick up a pair of sneakers for your child that are extra supportive and well-fitting.
Outside of doing this, you and your child should be able to get away with not having any further flat feet treatment done. This will be a relief when a doctor shares this news.
What Is the Best Flat Feet Treatment?
If your child is in pain all the time as a result of their flat feet, ignoring the problem might only make it worse. In this instance, you’re going to need to arrange to have your child’s flat feet treated.
So, what is the best flat feet treatment available right now? That will really all depend on the condition of your child’s flat feet.
In most cases, a doctor will simply tell you to put special inserts into your child’s shoes to provide them with more support. But they might also need to start doing special exercises for flat feet or have their feet put into casts for several weeks.
There is also a small chance that your child might need to go through foot surgery if their flat feet are on the bad side. But most of the time, children won’t have to undergo surgeries for their flat feet.
When Should You Call a Pediatric Podiatry Clinic?
At this point, we’re guessing that at least a few parents out there might be a little confused. On the one hand, we’ve stressed how flat feet are common foot problems that aren’t that big of a deal in most situations. On the other, we just pointed out that there are some children who need to undergo surgery to fix their flat feet problem.
This might have you second-guessing whether or not you should take your child to see a pediatric podiatry specialist. Do you really have to do it?
The choice will be yours, but there will be a couple of instances in which you’ll want to call a doctor ASAP for your child’s flat feet. You should do it if your child has expressed that their feet, ankles, and/or knees hurt and you think it might be because of their flat feet. You should also do it if your child used to have arches in their feet and now has flat feet.
Both of these things could indicate that your child would benefit from having a doctor check out their feet. You should reach out to a pediatric podiatry clinic as quickly as you can to make an appointment for them.
Which Podiatry Foot Doctor Should You Trust?
If you would like to have your child see a pediatric foot doctor for their flat feet, you shouldn’t just pick out the first doctor you can find and trust them to do a great job with your child. You might get stuck working with a doctor who isn’t the best in the business when you take this approach.
Rather than doing this, you should look high and low for a doctor that you’ll be able to count on to do a great job while working with your child. Here are some of the qualities you’ll find in a great podiatry foot doctor:
- Plenty of experience within the world of podiatry
- A wonderful reputation among their patients in your community
- The availability to see your child within the next few weeks
Spend a few days poking around online to see what you can find out about your local podiatry foot doctors. There are bound to be at least one or two really great doctors in your general area.
You’ll be so much better off doing this as opposed to choosing the first podiatry foot doctor you cross paths with. You’ll know that your child will be in good hands when they have a doctor who truly cares for them and their flat feet.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Child’s Flat Feet
Most parents are going to see that their children have flat feet when they’re still young. This won’t be anything that you’ll need to freak out about.
But at the same time, it would be worth monitoring your child’s flat feet as they get older to see if they develop arches. If they don’t ever come around, it could be reason enough to make them an appointment with a fantastic doctor from a pediatric podiatry clinic. This doctor will be able to sneak a peek at your child’s feet and tell you if there is anything you should worry about.
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