Children’s Feet

One of the main questions that parents ask a Podiatrist is “What is normal?” when it comes to their child’s feet.

Often children are born with flat feet as the arch of their feet has not yet developed. This usually forms when the child is around 3 to 4 years old.

There are two types of flat feet which are outlined below:

Flexible Flat Feet

It is very common for children to have flexible flat feet. The arch of the foot will continue to form whilst the child is growing.

Rigid Flat Feet

Rigid flat feet are caused by the alignment of the bones of the foot not being as normal. This is far less common than flexible flat feet and can reduce mobility and can cause pain. Diagnosis usually involves X-rays.

How can I assess my child’s foot type?

Firstly, your child will need to stand on their tiptoes. If you can see an arch appear, they probably have flexible flat feet. If you cannot see an arch appear, they may have rigid flat feet.

If your child is unable to stand on their tiptoes you can assess their foot type by putting their foot in your hand and lifting their big toe up gently. If you can see a change in the arch shape then the condition is probably flexible.

Does my child require treatment?

Treatment is not usually necessary for flexible flat feet as problems are rare. However, if your child is experiencing any of the below, you should seek advice from a podiatrist who will be able to provide the best treatment:

  • Problems with shoes
  • Not wanting to take part in activities that require use of the feet
  • A change in their walk
  • Outward tilting of the heel
  • Foot, leg or knee pain

Supportive orthotic insoles provided by your podiatrist are usually required for rigid flat feet. Insoles are put into your child’s shoe to not only reduce foot pain but to help hold the foot properly throughout their growth.

Any concerns regarding your child’s foot should be discussed with a podiatrist.