Children's Flat feet
Most babies have flat feet at first. Even during the toddler years, you won’t see much of arches under the feet because they aren’t developed yet and the soles have thick fat pads. That solid, flat foundation gives them more stability as they are learning to walk. Pediatric flatfoot starts to show up in early childhood when bones begin to harden and soft tissues in the foot contract and get stronger. That is when some kids’ feet remain flat instead of forming the curved bone structure we call the arch. But stay calm! That may not even be a problem.
Types of Flat Feet in Children
Most kids will have a flexible variation of this condition. If your child stands on tiptoe or dangles his or her legs down while sitting, you will probably see the curve under the arch, but it disappears again when standing on the entire sole. Flexible flat feet are usually not painful. They normally don’t keep your child from walking or playing
In some cases, however, the condition is exacerbated by a tarsal coalition (an unnatural joining of two bones in the back of the foot) or a short Achilles tendon. With these inherited traits, the foot joints can become more rigid, and an arch cannot be seen even when standing on tiptoe. This may lead to pain and stiffness as your child gets older and the bones solidify—although not always.
How Pediatric Flatfoot Is Treated
Flexible flatfoot that is causing no symptoms does not need any treatment at all. If you suspect the condition, but your child does not verbalize any painful symptoms, you can continue to watch for other indications of problems, such as not wanting to run and play or avoiding sports and games he or she used to love.
If your young one complains of aching legs or feet after activity, come in for a checkup. We can examine the foot structure and evaluate the symptoms that concern you. Many times a simple gel arch support you can buy at the pharmacy or at our on-line store will solve those problems. We normally don’t recommend rigid arch supports for flat feet in children.
If we find that the Achilles is too short and tight, we can manipulate and stretch it in the proper way to help alleviate and prevent soreness. These simple treatments can be very helpful, but there is always the rare case when surgery may be needed to find relief.
When a tarsal coalition causes your child to have stiff, rigid, painful flat feet, we can address that with surgery that separates the bones so they can move properly. We can also lengthen the heel bone with a graft so that the Achilles tendon is not as tight. Neither of these will be attempted until your child is older and all other means to alleviate the problem have proved ineffective.
Stay Calm and Call Our Office
If your child’s feet seem stiff or they complain of pain, don’t panic. Instead, set up a consultation with the premier children’s foot and ankle specialists in Ladera Ranch. Dr. Robert Spencer, Dr. Nitza Rodriguez and Dr. Han Nguyen are experts at treating children’s foot and ankle ailments and will work with you to find the answer that is best for your son or daughter. Call Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists today at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) to schedule an appointment, or request one online through our contact form. Keep in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ as well for helpful tips and interesting information.