Flatfoot is a condition that can affect both adults and children. In children, it is called “pediatric flatfoot.” When a child has pediatric flatfoot, the arch of the foot shrinks or disappears when he or she stands. The arch reappears when the child sits or stands on tiptoe. This is called flexible pediatric flatfoot and the most common form.

Most children who have pediatric flatfoot are born with the condition, though it may not appear for a few years. Children will usually outgrow pediatric flatfoot on their own by the age of five. If a child does not outgrow this at this age conservative measures such as OTC orthotics, custom orthotics or braces may be necessary. In rare cases, even surgery is required.

A second, rarer kind of pediatric flatfoot is called rigid flatfoot. With this condition, the arches do not reappear when the child sits or stands on tiptoe. Conservative measures and surgical measures can be done to help with these types of feet. Children affected by rigid flatfoot may experience more severe symptoms. Those affected with tarsal coalition, an abnormal joining of two bones in the feet, may begin to experience symptoms at preadolescence.

What Are the Symptoms of Pediatric Flatfoot?

Most children with pediatric flatfoot have no symptoms. A parent or caregiver usually notices the condition. Symptoms children may experience include:

  • Pain, tenderness, and/or cramping in the feet or legs, especially along the bottom of the feet
  • Heels that tilt outward
  • A change in walking
  • Pain or discomfort while walking or wearing shoes

Parents may also notice their child withdrawing from sports and other physical activities that may cause pain in their feet and legs especially during this up and coming fall season of sports.

If your child experiences any of these symptoms, you should consult with your local Cornerstone Foot and Ankle Podiatrist.