Flatfeet, also known as pes planus, is a condition in which the longitudinal arch of the foot has not developed normally. Flatfeet can run in families and is quite common in children.
Flatfeet typically resolves during the middle childhood years (6 to 8 years old). However, in about two percent of young children, the condition can persist—even into adulthood— and cause substantial heel and arch pain.
If this sounds like your child, take them to a podiatrist, a physician who specializes in the diagnoses and treatment of conditions and injuries that affect the foot and ankle. Read on to learn about how a podiatrist can diagnose and correct your child’s flat feet.
To assess the mechanics of your child’s feet, your podiatrist will do a visual inspection from the front and back of each foot. They may also ask your child to stand on their toes. Your podiatrist may also examine the wear pattern on your child’s shoes.
Your podiatrist will also order imaging test/s— X-ray, MRI, CT scan, and/or ultrasound—to thoroughly evaluate your child’s feet and to check for other conditions or problems that can exacerbate the problem or put your child at risk of sustaining foot injuries.
Based on the results of the evaluation, your podiatrist will prescribe or recommend a combination of the following:
- Custom orthotics – These are shoe inserts that are molded to the contours of your child’s feet. Orthotic devices are not meant to cure flatfeet, but to provide effective symptom relief.
- Physical therapy- Your podiatrist can refer you to a physical therapist, who can assess the severity of the deviation and whether there are any conditions that can exacerbate the problem (e.g., ankle weakness and tightening of the calf muscles). Your therapist will likely include manual therapy, balance training, strengthening, and stretching exercises, which are beneficial if your child is experiencing moderate pain.
- Supportive shoes- Your podiatrist will likely recommend structurally supportive shoes for your child.
- Weight loss- If your child has excess weight issues, your podiatrist will likely make lifestyle and dietary recommendations to help reduce the strain on your child’s arches.
Treatment for Children’s Foot Conditions in Cincinnati, OH
At Cincinnati Foot and Ankle Care, our highly trained podiatrists combine their expertise with innovative and highly effective treatment methods to address flatfeet and many other pediatric foot conditions.
To arrange a consultation with one of our podiatrists, call our office nearest you or request an appointment by filling out this secure form. We have 18 locations across southwest Ohio at which to serve you. We look forward to helping your child move, walk, and live better!