Frequent Questions Regarding Children's Feet
- Page 1
Why Are My Child's Feet Flat?
Parents, and especially first-timers, can be concerned when they observe flat feet. Depending on the situation, this might not be the worry it would appear.
To start, pediatric foot arches are often covered with padding until a child is around three-years-old. This means you shouldn’t expect them to be observable as your son or daughter advances from “first steps” to “cruising around home at reckless speeds” seemingly overnight.
After that time, foot arches still undergo development until around eight-years-old. Until then, many children have what is known as “flexible flatfoot.” This is not a painful condition and the arches aren’t visible when your child is standing or walking. When your child doesn’t have bodyweight on his or her feet—such as when legs are dangling while he or she sits on a tall chair—the arches can be seen.
Children often outgrow flexible flatfoot over time. In cases wherein they don’t, there usually isn’t pain.
More concerning would be a case of rigid flatfoot. This is fairly rare and caused by complications with the tarsal bones in the feet. In about half of these cases, both feet are affected. Rigid flatfoot is usually associated with osseous (bone) and/or inflammatory disorders.
Does My Child Need to See a Podiatrist?
This will depend on an array of factors. A good starting point, however, is by determining if your child’s foot or ankle is hurting. If so, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with our office.
Your pediatrician is needed to monitor your child’s overall health, but when child foot problems arise, you should bring your child to see a specialist who has focused on feet throughout his or her medical training, residency, and years in practice.
Specific conditions and injuries that are more common include ingrown toenails, sports injuries, Sever’s disease, plantar warts, and pediatric flatfoot.
Untreated foot problems in childhood can lead to chronic problems later in life. Arthritis can set in where a bone was fractured. A bad sprain could lead to weak ankles and recurrent injuries. Flat feet can become rigid and painful and keep your child from enjoying performing daily activities, much less running or sports. Even an ingrown nail can become infected and need to be removed if left untreated.
Given the fact conditions are often most effectively treated in early stages, it is better to err on the side of caution and have your son or daughter see Dr. Ripepi.