Under the age of 3, children often have “flat” feet, which is normal. Young children have an arch full of fatty tissue and the morphology of their feet is just starting to define itself. Little by little, through the following years, children’s feet begin to look like adult feet, particularly those of their parents! However, all feet are different and not everyone develops a beautiful arch in the foot. Is this a problem?
CAN THIS LEAD TO ANY COMPLICATIONS?
The quick answer is yes, but it is a subject that is worth clarifying. First of all, you should know that feet are complicated. Flat feet cover many different types of feet with an internal foot arch lower than average. Also, many factors lead to “problems”, and a lot of “problems” are insidious and detected a lot later in the life with wear and tear that has accumulated with each step. When the arch collapses excessively to the level of flat feet, this leads to abnormal weight distribution under the feet, as well as abnormal muscular activity leading to instability, and eventually, deformation of the foot in certain cases; not to mention the impact on the knees, hips and back.
Many young children never complain about their flat feet assuming that they are normal growing pains, but it is not always the case, like when the time comes to diagnose Sever’s disease or patellofemoral syndrome, to name but a few. Moreover, problems do not just appear in the form of pain. Deformation like hammer toes and bunions (hallux valgus) are often problems that a child inherits from their parents, which are worth dealing with as quickly as possible, as soon as they are detected in the family and even more so if the child also has flat feet.
What can my podiatrist do?
First, your podiatrist will do a full bio-mechanical examination in order to evaluate your child’s flat feet. Posture, gait and plantar pressure will be observed. Thus, your podiatrist will be able to follow up on the development of your child’s feet. With the quick growth of your child, their feet change from one year to another. According to their development, your podiatrist will be able to propose appropriate solutions. Depending on your child’s situation, your podiatrist will be able to advise you and suggest solutions in order to avoid any risk of future problems. Wearing foot orthoses may be a suitable solution in order to rectify your child’s gait.
In a nutshell…
The ideal situation is to remain aware of the growth and development of your child’s feet. If after the age of 3, they have an issue with flat feet, consider consulting a podiatrist who will be able to direct you towards the appropriate solution for your child. You should know that the earlier you deal with the problem, the more chance you have of reducing the risk of future problems.