Flat Feet In Children: When You Should See A Podiatrist

Have you noticed that your child has a flat foot? If so, you may be wondering whether you should see a podiatrist. We all want to make sure that our children are happy and healthy, which is why we have put together a list of everything you need to know about flat feet in children, their causes and whether or not you should seek help from a professional.

What are flat feet?

Flat feet, or pes planus, is a condition where a child’s or an infant’s feet have no arch or a very low arch when they are standing or walking. Although you may not think so, flat feet are quite common in infants and children. According to a study, up to 44% of three to six-year-olds have flat feet. If you’ve noticed that your child’s feet almost completely touch the floor when they are standing or walking, it is likely that they have flat feet.

What causes flat feet in children?

There’s more than one reason why your child might have flat feet. This issue actually begins in the heel. The heel bone falls inward, which causes the foot to collapse where the arch should be. Therefore, if your child has flat feet, they won’t be spreading their weight evenly, but they will be walking on the inside of their feet.

There are two main reasons why this happens

  • Low muscle tone: If your child has low muscle tone, the cause of flat feet is ligament laxity. This means that their ligaments are too stretchy, which causes the heel bone to rotate inwards, causing the arch to collapse.
  • High muscle tone: If your child has a high muscle tone, it sometimes means that the Achilles tendon is too short, which causes the foot to be pulled inward.

Are flat feet normal or should I see a podiatrist?

For many children, flat feet are normal and the issue usually corrects itself over time as the muscles begin to stretch and the soft tissues stiffen up. In a lot of cases, flat feet will fix themselves by the time your child is nine.

However, there are some instances where flat feet do not correct themselves, which can have several effects.

If your child has started to experience any of these symptoms, you should consider getting their feet checked by a podiatrist:

  • Joint pain
  • Unusual or incorrect walking pattern
  • Muscle weakness or exhaustion
  • Poor foot development

Occasionally, flat feet can cause a significant amount of pain when your child is walking or running. If you have noticed that your child is in some or a lot of pain when they are walking, you should get their feet checked by a podiatrist.

Contact your Podiatrist in Darwin

If you think your child has flat feet and you are concerned about the way they are walking or they are expressing they’re in pain, contact Swan Podiatry and Orthotics. Our podiatrist in Darwin will be able to offer advice, support and solutions for your child’s health.

Author

Cable Mills

Cable Mills

Cable Mills is the Senior Podiatrist at Swan Podiatry and Orthotics in Darwin.
He studied Podiatry at Charles Stuart University and has worked in busy podiatry practices in Darwin and Melbourne since graduating in 2011. He has a passion for sport and biomechanics and finds it rewarding to be able to make a difference to people’s lives.
Cable opened the first practice of Swan Podiatry and Orthotics at the beginning of 2016. His areas of expertise are sports injuries, orthotic therapy, general treatment, nail surgery, fracture management and diabetic care.