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Flat feet- Children’s feet | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

 

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Children with flat feet, also called pes planus, have a flattening of the arch during standing and walking.

Flat foot is normal in infants and young children. At this age, in the absence of any associated symptoms, treatment is highly debatable.

Flat foot usually naturally corrects itself as muscles strengthen and soft tissues stiffen. The height of the arch in the foot increases with age until about 9 years. The problem is when flat foot persists, spontaneously occurs in older children or later in life, or is associated with pain and disability.

Flat feet can be flexible or rigid, painful or painless and associated with a tightness of the calf muscles (Achilles tendon). The majority of flat feet are painless, but when pain is present it is usually during weight-bearing activities such as walking and running. The pain can be in the sole of the foot, the ankle, or non-specific pain all around the foot area.

 

What causes flat feet?

A complex and sophisticated interaction of bones, ligaments, muscles and nerves within and above the foot defines its anatomy and function. Anything that interrupts the integrity of these structures leading to a collapsed arch can cause symptomatic flat feet.

Examination of the foot begins with an examination of the entire child, because the flat foot may have an underlying cause.

Flat foot can also originate from unusual anatomy such as a tarsal coalition (bones joined together), ligament or muscle damage, restricted ankle movement, outward rotated lower legs, and knock knees (where the legs bow inwards at the knee). Obesity can result in collapse of the arches by the increased load on the foot. If knock knees also develop, the middle of the foot will tend to turn out (abduct). The foot will point outwards when walking, instead of straight ahead, which is inefficient and can cause early fatigue.

Footwear in early childhood has been thought to cause flat foot. It is likely that children who wear shoes, are not physically active and have flat feet will have decreased muscle activation in their feet and thus impaired foot function and weakness.

Some older children and adolescents develop flat feet in the absence of any disorder or associated factors.

 

Does flat foot need to be treated?

Flat feet require treatment only if clearly associated with pain or decreased function. Managing the underlying cause or disease is of highest priority; just treating the symptoms should be secondary.

If flat foot is observed in a child who is overweight and has knock knees, or in a child with excess joint flexibility and poor footwear, each of these factors could be contributing to the symptoms, and each should be addressed.

If a child’s quality of life is affected by how their feet look, feel or function, then the associated issues should be addressed.

For any foot problems, contact The Podiatrist.

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz

http://www.kidsnmotion.co.nz

Foot Health: Don’t let children get caught flatfooted; arch collapse can cause problems | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

feet rolling in from behind

As you look at your children running around, it is the ideal time to focus on their foot health and well-being. Remember, it’s not normal to have pain in your feet, especially for a child.

One of the most common foot structures that can cause problems for children is flat foot, also known as pes planus. This is a condition in which there is abnormal collapse of the arch when standing. This causes excessive strain on the soft tissues and joints of the foot and ankle, which in turn, can cause pain and affect the way in which your child is able to function over time.

It is also common to have children complain of knee pain due to their abnormal foot structure, as you can imagine, if your foundation (your feet) is not functioning correctly then that affects the joints up the chain (your knees, hips, lower back).

Here are some early signs of flat feet:

1.Is your child 5 yrs or older? Any younger than this it is normal to have a flattened arch. It is around age 5 that you should start to see an arch form

2.When you look at the back of your child’s heels as they stand, do the heels tend to angle outward, with bowing of the Achilles tendon?

3.Does your child complain of foot, knee or ankle pain during or after activity? Or wake up in the middle of the night with these complaints?

4. Does your child tend to have early leg fatigue or seem to be clumsy with activity?

5. Do you, the parents, have flat feet? If so, there’s a good chance that your child will too since foot structure
is mostly hereditary.

Most parents want the best for their kids and will do what they can to ensure their child’s health and success. However, it’s not always on parent’s minds that if your child’s feet are functioning abnormally, their ability to perform in sports and play outside with their friends can be hindered, and even cause pain.

What should parents do if they suspect their child has flat feet?
It is recommended to have your child evaluated early, even before age 5 if the parents have flat feet. The earlier that your child’s feet are treated, the better the outcome is for improvement in their overall structure over time.

One of the most conservative and effective means of treatment for paediatric flatfoot is custom orthotic therapy. This is done by taking a mould of your child’s foot in what the corrected position should be and from this mould we can make an insert (orthotic) that will fit inside your child’s shoes to wear on a daily basis to keep their feet in the corrected position. The earlier we can start this correction, the greater the improvement in the structure of the feet we can make.

By doing this we can help keep your child active and happy. So remember, if you’re going shoe shopping – take a look at your child’s feet BEFORE you hit the stores. A visit to The Podiatrist may be in order. Some shoes are better than others for flat feet and knowing what to look for will save you time and money.

For all your foot care needs, visit The Podiatrist

http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz
http://www.kidsnmotion.co.nz