Should You Treat Your Kid’s Flat Feet?

If you’ve noticed that your toddler doesn’t seem to have any arches in their feet when they stand, trust us—you’re not alone. It’s quite normal for babies to be born with flat feet. As they grow older and their bones and muscles continue to develop, the arch tightens and begins to take a more rigid shape.

Even so, if you observe flat feet in your child, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with our office for an evaluation. Your doctor will make several careful observations and evaluations. For example:

  • How does your child’s foot appear when standing? Does the arch flatten?
  • How does your child’s foot appear when sitting? Does the arch reappear when the child is not bearing weight (flexible flatfoot), or stay flat (rigid flatfoot)?
  • What does your child look like when walking?
  • What kind of range of motion does your child have at the feet and ankles?

Children's Flat FeetIf necessary, we may take an X-ray or order additional tests to get a closer look at any deformities.

Although some flatfoot conditions may resolve on their own in time, others will continue to get worse into adolescence and beyond. Symptoms can include rolled-in ankles, fatigue, and pain in heels, arches, ankles, or even shins, knees, hips, and lower back. Over time, this can cause deficits in strength, balance, and coordination.

The good news is that the vast majority of flatfoot cases in childhood can be treated conservatively. At Associates in Podiatry, we frequently use orthotics and gait plates to support the arch and correct any gait abnormalities that may be related to walking with flat arches. These devices, which slide easily into your child’s shoes, offer features that can help stabilize the ankle, improve posture, restrict any abnormal motion, and more.

Early intervention with conservative treatment will give your little one the best long-term prognosis. The sooner you can bring them in to see us, the better. That said, we happily treat kids of all ages—better late than never—and do everything we can to resolve any painful issues as quickly as possible. Conservative care is always preferred; however, those with more severe deformities may ultimately require a surgical procedure to restore healthy function to the feet.

If your child has flat arches, please bring them to see the Associates in Podiatry team. Even if no treatment is required right away—some cases may only warrant observation and periodic re-evaluation—it is critical that any serious issues are dealt with as early as possible. To book an appointment for you and your child at our Princeton office, give us a call at (609) 924-8333. If you’d prefer to meet us in Roselle Park, the number you want is (908) 687-5757.