Flat feet in children

What are flat feet?

Flat feet (also called pes planus, pes valgus or overpronation) is a condition in which the entire sole of your foot touches the floor when standing.
It’s normal for babies and toddlers to have flat feet — most people’s arches develop during childhood. However, some people never develop an arch. Flat feet often run in families. No treatment is needed for flat feet unless your child experiences pain.

Signs of flat feet

Many people who have flat feet experience no pain or issues with the condition. However, some may have:

  • Foot pain in the heel or arch area
  • Foot pain that becomes worse with activity
  • Swollen ankles
  • Tight Achilles tendons (heel cords)

A pediatrician often diagnoses flat feet. If your child has pain in his or her feet, contacting a pediatric orthopedist for an exam can help. X-rays, CT and MRI scans may be done if your child experiences extreme pain.

Treatments

No treatment in necessary for children who don’t experience pain from their flat feet. Nonsurgical treatments include:

  • Arch supports
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Rest
  • Support shoes
  • Stretching
  • Weight loss

Surgery usually is not an option for flat feet. However, if your child experiences a related foot or leg issue, a torn tendon, an extra bone or other condition, surgery may be considered.

Follow-up

Most children do not need long-term care for flat feet. However, if your child experiences pain, you should contact a pediatric orthopedist.

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Contact Us

Connect with Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville.

(502) 394-5678

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