Children experience many of the same foot conditions as adults, including fractures, blisters, and sprains. However, caring for children’s feet is different since their feet continue to grow and develop well into the teen years.
Andrew Bernhard, DPM, and Kaitlyn Bernhard, DPM, provide expert care for children’s feet at Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists in State College, Pennsylvania. If you have concerns about your child’s feet, from sports injuries to congenital abnormalities, we can help.
Here, we tackle a common question: Should you be concerned if your child’s feet look flat?
Should you be concerned if your child’s feet look flat?
Flat feet can cause numerous issues for adults, including pain in the back, knee, and hip, an increased risk of arthritis, bunions, bone spurs, and shin splints. So it’s understandable you’d be concerned if your child’s feet look flat.
Interestingly, it’s not always a cause for concern. Children are born with flat feet and only start to develop arches around age 6. After that, though, flat feet might contribute to foot pain and other complications.
Signs your child has flat feet
It’s normal for babies and toddlers to have wide, flat feet, but it’s important to identify the signs of problematic flat feet. You might suspect that your older child has flat feet if:
- Their ankles turn inward
- Their shoes wear out quickly and unevenly
- They complain of foot pain or tenderness
- You notice changes in their gait
- They previously had arches that appear to have fallen
Because many conditions can cause foot pain, an accurate diagnosis is important. Our team visually examines your child’s feet. Flat feet are often diagnosed with a visual examination, but we may also use tests, such as a wet footprint test.
Treating flat feet in kids
Sports injuries, obesity, and diabetes can increase the risk of flat feet in children and adults alike. The good news is treatments exist to help alleviate foot pain from flat feet.
At Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists, we may recommend custom-made orthotics to support your child’s arch, physical therapy, special exercises, lifestyle modifications, and rarely, surgery.
Orthotics 一 biomechanical medical devices that fit in shoes 一 can support your child’s arches, align their feet and ankles, redistribute their weight, and help correct foot imbalances.
Each pair is custom made based on impressions of your child’s feet and with your child’s anatomy in mind. Orthotics provide the support your child’s arches need.
So while you don’t necessarily need to worry if your child is an infant or toddler, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you see signs of flat feet or any condition that may cause your child foot pain.
To schedule a pediatric assessment at Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists, call our office or book online today.