Flat feet, or pes planus, describe a condition that occurs when you don’t have arches in your feet, or the arches are very low or disappear when walking. Sometimes, flat feet can begin in childhood.
If you’ve noticed your child has flat feet, you may be wondering if the condition needs treatment. At New Canaan Podiatry in New Canaan, Connecticut, board-certified podiatrist Jennifer Tauber, DPM, specializes in diagnosing and treating flat feet in patients of all ages.
Keep reading to learn more about flat feet in children and when to seek medical help for the condition.
Why are my child’s feet flat?
Having flat feet is relatively common, and the condition is painless for most people. There’s no reason to worry if your child has flat feet most of the time.
Many babies and toddlers have flat feet because their feet haven’t developed arches. It takes time for the tendons in the foot to tighten and develop normal arches. Some children inherit flat feet from a parent.
Children with an underlying health condition, like juvenile arthritis or a connective tissue disorder, can also have flat feet. If your child has unusual foot anatomy, such as legs that rotate outward or fused bones, their risk of having flat feet increases.
Young children may also have a condition called flexible flat feet. This means that when your child is sitting or at rest, you can see the arches in their feet, but their weight causes the arches to disappear when they stand. Most children outgrow this condition, and it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern.
When is it time to see a podiatrist about my child’s flat feet?
For most children, having flat feet isn’t a red flag or cause for concern. Most kids outgrow flat feet and develop normal arches by five years. Even when children don’t develop normal arches, flat feet rarely cause issues as the children grow.
However, flat feet should be assessed by a trained podiatrist, like Dr. Tauber, who can identify any underlying issues and recommend the right treatment to prevent complications from developing. If you notice any of the following symptoms, bring your child in for an evaluation:
- No arch development by age 6
- Unusual or awkward gait
- Shoes wear down unevenly (on one side)
- Complaints about foot, knee, or ankle pain
- Avoiding physical activities they used to enjoy
- Complaints about tired legs
- Your child’s normal arch falls
Depending on your child’s needs, Dr. Tauber creates a customized treatment plan that may include supportive shoes, custom orthotics or a heel cup, stretching exercises, or physical therapy.
Surgery is not typically needed for flat feet. However, if your child has an underlying condition that contributes to flat feet (e.g., torn tendon; fused bones; accessory bone), surgery may be recommended.
If you’re concerned about your child’s flat feet, schedule a consultation online or over the phone with Dr. Tauber at New Canaan Podiatry.