As podiatrists in Sydney, one of the most common questions we get from parents is: “My child has flat feet – what should I do?”
Parents can sometimes have concerns about their child’s foot health when they can see that their feet are not developing a natural arch.
Flat feet are much more common in younger children, generally under the age of 9.
Whether your child needs to have treatment for flat feet will depend on a multitude of factors.
The main options available when dealing with a child with flat feet are to treat it, to leave it, or to watch and wait.
More often than not, cases of children with flat feet do not need any treatment.
Especially if the child is fairly young, their foot is still developing and so there is time for an arch to develop naturally as they grow older.
If they are not experiencing any symptoms or pain associated with flat feet, in most cases, podiatrists do not need to treat it.
It’s always a good idea to speak to a paediatric podiatrist if you have any concerns though, as they can help put your mind at rest, even if no treatment is needed.
Watch and Wait
A podiatrist may recommend keeping an eye on your child’s flat feet and monitoring any changes before deciding to treat them.
Changes in the appearance of your child’s feet while standing or walking, changes to your child’s foot posture in general should be noted and discussed with your paediatric podiatrist over time.
If more symptoms develop over time, your podiatrist may recommend a course of treatment. If they improve though, or arches develop naturally as they age, no treatment may be needed at all.
If there is a family history of flat feet, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on your child’s foot development to pick up any issues as soon as you can.
If your child has flat feet and it is causing them pain or restricting their mobility, it may be recommended that they receive treatment for the condition.
Treatment could be as simple as changing the style of footwear they wear or performing some simple postural exercises which could help to strengthen and develop an arch naturally.
In some severe cases, your podiatrist may recommend insoles or custom orthotics to help your child’s feet and posture.
At The Foot Hub in Sydney, we perform a computerised gait analysis as well as static stance testing to determine the extent of the problem. These results are referred back to over time to track the progress your child is making with their foot development.
We also understand that custom orthotics for children can be expensive when their feet are constantly growing. That’s why we have special discounts in place when it comes to custom orthotics for under 18s – speak to our podiatrists today to find out more about how we can help your child.
Rudo Makuyana is one of the podiatrists at The Foot Hub, a podiatry clinic in Sydney. Rudo is passionate about foot health and treating patients holistically – not just the individual problem. Originally from Zimbabwe, she completed her Bachelor of Podiatric Medicine at the University of Western Australia (School of Surgery) in 2011. She now practices in her foot clinic in Alexandria and Sydenham, doing general podiatry, custom orthotics, ski boot fitting and children’s podiatry and also volunteers and advocates for the rights of the world’s poor.