My Child Has Flatfeet. Now What?
The term "Flatfoot" actually describes a number of distinct conditions, all of which describe a weak, ineffective, or nonexistent foot arch. When flatfoot occurs in children, the condition is known as "pediatric flatfoot." Flatfoot is very treatable; however treatment is best and most effective when caught early. If you suspect your child might be suffering from pediatric flatfoot, you'll need to know the signs and symptoms, as well as the treatment options that are available.
Symptoms of Flatfoot
Children suffering from pediatric flatfoot will have foot arches which either permanently collapse while both sitting and standing, or which collapse only while standing. The condition can be apparent at birth, or can develop over the course of childhood. Flatfoot is often present in both feet simultaneously, however it is possible for a child to develop flat footedness in only one foot. Symptoms which may indicate that your child is flat footed include:
- Awkwardness in walking, particularly when accompanied by outwardly turned heels.
- Swelling, tenderness, or pain in the foot, ankle, leg, or knee.
- Problems with shoes.
- Sudden changes in physical activity, or withdrawal from physical activities.
Never rely solely on a home diagnosis; the opinion of an orthopedic surgeon is required to confirm the diagnosis.
Fortunately, most cases of pediatric flatfoot can be easily treated with minimally invasive care. Common treatment options include:
- Orthopedic Devices: Either special shoes or shoe inserts, these devices help your child maintain, protect, and develop arch support.
- Physical Therapy: When properly supervised by a doctor or physical therapist, gentle stretching and other exercises can help alleviate the symptoms of flatfoot.
- Medications: Common anti-inflammatory medications are commonly prescribed to ease the inflammation associated with the condition.
- Wait and See: In asymptomatic cases of pediatric flatfoot (cases in which your child exhibits no adverse symptoms) doctors may simply prescribe regular followup visits to monitor the development of the condition.
If you feel your child may be suffering from flatfeet or Pediatric Flatfoot, contact (480-948-2111) the friendly staff at InMotion Foot & Ankle Specialists today!