It’s natural to be concerned about the way your children walk, obsessing over every waddle and stumble. One thing you may notice about your child is flat feet. Easiest to observe when the child walks on hard floors, many children’s feet make full contact with the ground as they stand and walk. The condition may be flexible, which means they have an arch when sitting but not when standing, or rigid, which means no arch at all in any context.
Flat feet that persist into adulthood may be painful or lead to increased incidence of certain foot conditions, so naturally you want to know recommended treatment options.
For flexible flatfoot: The preferred strategy for dealing with a child with a flexible flatfoot is simply to observe carefully. Many young children display this condition due to softer, more flexible bones and tissues at that age; most will grow out of it sometime between age 5 and adolescence. Take your child to see us for an initial appointment and any re-evaluation checkups that may be scheduled, but otherwise simply watch for signs of pain or struggle. If no symptoms are present, then likely no treatment is needed.
For rigid flatfoot: Much less common, rigid pediatric flatfoot conditions (such as tarsal coalition or congenital vertical talus) are also generally more serious, with noticeable symptoms that require active treatment. We’ll always try conservative treatments first—often shoe inserts, custom orthotics, or special shoes that properly support your child’s feet are recommended. In some cases surgery is inevitable, though it’s a last resort we attempt only when non-surgical solutions have failed and the child is old enough to safely undergo a procedure.
Although most instances of flat feet in children do not warrant medical intervention, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment just to make sure there are no hidden muscular or neurological conditions that could pose problems for your child as they grow. You can request a time online, or call Family Foot & Ankle Center at 888-689-3317.