It’s extremely common for parents to have concerns about the health and well-being of their children, from the tops of their heads down to the soles of the feet. However, when those feet are flat, the worry-alarm often sounds. Flat feet (or fallen-arches) don’t necessarily result in pain or symptoms, but they can become a problematic issue. In addition, it very well may require taking a child to see a podiatrist to receive pediatric foot care. However, understanding when and what to look out for can be a relief to a concerned parent, as well as a resource that helps a child achieve happier and healthier feet in the future.
Tales of Two Flat Feet
As a whole, babies are born with flat feet. Those cutesy tootsies are largely made of cartilage and can appear flat as a pancake. But as many infants grow, and as they begin to walk more and more, bones become more prominent. Around age 2 or 3 the feet begin to change, ligaments tighten, and by ages 4 to 6, most children develop arches. This isn’t always the case however.
When feet are flat, they are categorized as either “flexible” or “rigid.” The most common type is flexible flat feet. Here, when standing still the arch is not visible, but when standing on tiptoe or sitting down, the arch appears. Children with flexible flat feet often outgrow them and get arches around that 5 or so year mark. If they don’t, there’s a chance that they may experience foot pain later (usually more towards adolescence). Symptoms can include an achiness or fatigue in the arches and legs, and pain during physical activities.
Rigid flat feet are much rarer and more serious. In this case, the arches do not appear when, for example, standing on one’s toes. Walking can be very painful and the condition may require surgery to correct.
When to Visit an Experienced Foot Doctor
Because flexible flat feet can possibly resolve themselves, the most obvious indicator of when to be concerned is when a child is experiencing symptoms of pain or discomfort. Plenty of times a podiatrist can provide treatment and pain relief through options that are simple and/or conservative, such as calf muscles stretches and shoe inserts. That being said, if a child has not developed arches by the typical age range, and even if no symptoms exist, it can be a good idea to visit a foot doctor to monitor development.
At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we take great pride in providing our patients both young and old, with a high standard of foot care excellence. If you have questions or concerns about yours or your little one’s flat feet, please contact our Long Beach office today. We look forward to using our medical knowledge and expertise, to help others on the road to healthier feet.