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Family Foot & Ankle

What Should I Look for in Children’s Feet?

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When it comes to areas of concern with children's feet, two things tend to stand out – in/out toeing and flat feet. Understanding these respective issues can help you know what to look for in your child’s feet, and if your child needs treatment to address an apparent problem.

Between intoeing and out-toeing, intoeing (often called “pigeon-toed”) tends to be the more commonly-seen condition. As the name indicates, intoeing is marked by feet that point inward. It only stands to reason, then, that out-toeing is a condition wherein the toes point outward.

There are many cases of both conditions caused by abnormal twisting of leg bones (either in the upper or lower leg). In some instances, the problem is an abnormally-curved foot – which may develop when a child is still in the womb. The good news regarding intoeing and out-toeing is that most cases will resolve themselves over time. For peace of mind, you can always check with our office to see if there is any need to be concerned.

Children's feet

With regards to foot arches, it’s perfectly normal to expect to see them in your child’s feet. When parents aren’t able to do so, they can become quite worried. The good news is that this probably isn't the problem you think it to be.

To start with, pediatric foot arches are often covered with padding until a child is around three years old, so do not expect them to be noticeable as your son or daughter advances from first steps to cruising around home at reckless speeds seemingly overnight. After this point, the arches are still not fully developed until about 8 years of age. During that time, many children have a condition known as flexible flatfoot, which is not usually painful.

With flexible flatfoot, the arch isn’t present when your son or daughter is standing or walking normally. When he or she is on tiptoe, though, you can see it. Children often outgrow this in time. Even if they don’t, as long as it is not causing pain, there is not likely a need for treatment. Essentially, pediatric flatfoot isn’t a problem unless it causes pain or other symptoms.

In addition to foot structure, something you should stay aware of is your child’s gait pattern. This means noticing how your child walks, and especially if he or she is limping. If this is something you observe, you can bring your son or daughter in for a professional gait analysis. We can assess the situation, and then determine whether or not treatment is needed.

Many children’s foot issues—like intoeing and flatfoot—resolve themselves in time. This isn’t always the case, however. When your child needs professional foot or ankle care, Family Foot & Ankle Center is here to help. Our team will provide gentle, effective treatment to resolve whatever problem is affecting your son or daughter.

For more information on child foot care, or to request an appointment at any of our Cincinnati-area offices, simply call (513) 728-4800. One of our staff members will be happy to help by answering your questions or helping schedule an appointment that works best for you. Contact us today to put foot or ankle pain in the past!
Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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