Pediatric flatfoot occurs when there is a partial or total collapse of the arch of the foot.
Most children have some degree of flat feet at birth and most who present to a podiatrist do not need treatment. However, some conditions progress and do require intervention. There is also a difference between a ‘flexible’ and a ‘rigid’ flatfoot. A flexible flatfoot is noted when the arch seems to collapse while the child is standing and the arch is visible when not standing. The diagnosis of a rigid flatfoot is made when the arch is not present whether the child is standing or not.
Children often present with the following symptoms:
- Pain when walking, running or after running
- Outward position of the heel while standing
- Pain in shoes
Your podiatrist will examine the child while standing and take x-rays to determine the severity of the condition.
An asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic foot may not require treatment. Sometimes a custom orthotic may provide enough support to decrease symptoms and prevent the development of potential problems.
Surgical treatment is rarely indicated for a true flexible flatfoot. There are a variety of techniques to treat the painful pediatric flatfoot, depending on the foot type and degree of deformity.