When to Worry about Your Child’s Flat Feet

Being a good parent requires vigilance in so many areas. We help our kids learn to read, make friends, and overcome anxiety. We arrange for piano lessons, guitar lessons, and, if we’re really kind and brave, drum lessons. We’re worrying about their grades in school and at the same time we’re busy modeling to them how far they can soar with just a little effort. We look out for their health and take them to the doctor when they fall ill.

Sometimes a health issue, especially one involving their foot anatomy, seems like nothing that we need to act on. So what, their toes point in a little. Big deal, he sprained his ankle, he’ll be fine — look, he can still walk on it. She’s got flat feet, just like her dad – and they’ve never bothered him.

Flat feet in children may never pose a problem. In fact, most young kids with flatfoot eventually grow into feet with normal, healthy arches. But some don’t. How does a parent know when to leave flat feet alone and when to act?

The problem with flat feet

Flat feet become a problem when

  • Your child complains of foot pain
  • There is localized swelling at the bottom of the foot near the arch
  • Pain develops in other parts of the lower leg or ankle
  • Your child’s foot becomes stiff and inflexible
  • Her feet get tired quickly

If your child’s foot has little to no arch in it (the entire foot lies flat on the ground) and he or she exhibits any of these symptoms, it’s time to make an appointment with Dr. Heidi M. Christie or Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts, the experienced podiatrists at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists.

How a podiatrist can help Dr. Day-Houts or Dr. Christie will examine your child’s feet to determine if they are, in fact, flat. They may do this with a visual assessment of the foot; by watching your child walk and perform other movements such as standing on his toes; by testing the strength of the surrounding muscles and tendons; or perhaps by ordering x-ray images of the foot. Treatment may include a watch-and-see approach, steroid injections to relieve pain, shoe inserts to support the arch, stretching exercises, and/or physical therapy.

Flat feet that don’t cause a problem today can get worse over time and cause problems later in life. Be sure to ask your child from time to time if they have any pain or swelling. Have their feet checked out by our podiatrists at the first sign of trouble. Call us at our office in Montgomery, AL at (334) 396-3668.