Your Child Has Flat Feet. Now What?

If you’re a parent, then you know how critical each stage of development is. You carefully monitor your child’s eating, sleeping, and talking habits throughout their first years, obsessing over whether or not they’re growing properly. 

But no matter how many parenting blogs you read or experts’ podcasts you listen to, panic inevitably sets in when your child has a problem like flat feet, and you don’t know how to fix it. 

When that happens, turn to our expert. Dr. Kelly Geoghan specializes in pediatric foot care and is dedicated to providing you with the best, most advanced treatments while helping you understand your child’s condition. Here’s a closer look at pediatric flatfoot.

What is pediatric flatfoot?

Flatfoot is a condition common to children. In fact, many children start off life with flat feet or have flat feet well into childhood. That’s because infants and young children have incredibly flexible bones and joints, which allow their feet to flatten when they stand. Some babies have an extra fat pad on the inner border of their feet, hiding their arches. 

You might see the arch in your child’s foot when they rise on tiptoes, but it disappears when they stand normally. Your child’s foot might also turn outward, which increases the weight distribution to the inner side of their foot, making it appear even flatter. 

Most children develop their foot arches by the age of six as their feet become less flexible. However, 1-2 out of every 10 children don’t develop arches and have flat feet into adulthood. 

There are two main types of pediatric flatfoot: flexible and rigid.

Flexible flatfoot refers to arches that appear when your child is standing on tiptoes or sitting but disappear when they stand. Rigid flatfoot is when children have no apparent arches regardless of how they sit or stand, though this is rare.

What causes pediatric flatfoot?

Both types of pediatric flatfoot have different causes. For example, flexible flatfoot stems from lax ligaments, which are often hereditary. Flexible flatfoot is also common in children with Down syndrome. 

Rigid flatfoot, on the other hand, occurs when your child’s foot develops abnormally, either due to a genetic predisposition or another condition like cerebral palsy.

What are the symptoms of pediatric flatfoot?

Often, pediatric flatfoot, namely flexible flatfoot, is asymptomatic, meaning your child doesn’t have any symptoms or mechanical issues associated with the deformity. But both types can cause symptoms, including:

Take note of any and all symptoms your child exhibits, as they can help Dr. Geoghan reach an accurate diagnosis much faster. 

What are my child’s treatment options?

After evaluating your child’s symptoms and health and family history, Dr. Geoghan creates a customized treatment plan. Often, and especially if your child doesn’t have symptoms, we don’t recommend treatment but instead reevaluate your child’s feet as they continue to develop. In some cases, we suggest custom orthotics for asymptomatic flatfoot. 

If your child has symptoms, we recommend the following treatments depending on their needs:

We only recommend surgery in the most severe cases of pediatric flatfoot. 

If you’d like more information or suspect your child has flat feet, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our Lutherville, Maryland, office today. 

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