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Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic

Flat-Footed Kids? Don’t Worry

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Diagram of flat feetAs parents, we obsess over every step our little ones make—that’s natural and normal. One thing that many parents quickly recognize, and are often troubled by, is how their kids’ arches look as flat as Bryant Street outside our Pleasanton office.

But don’t fret! Very young children often have flat feet, at least when they’re standing or walking. Kids’ feet are still soft and flexible, and often show very little arch when they are young. Even if you can see that characteristic curve when your little one is sitting in a high chair or talking on tiptoes, it often flattens again when they stand normally. This is known as flexible flatfoot, and is quite normal at ages under 6.

For most kids, the soft tissues that make up the bottom of the fit gradually tighten as they get older, becoming less flexible and gently and slowly developing a characteristic arch shape. The timetable here is somewhat unpredictable—most kids with flexible flatfoot will start “growing out” of the condition by around age 6, and perhaps as many as 20 percent will continue to have flat fleet through adulthood.

Flat feet in adulthood can eventually lead to a greater incidence of knee, hip, back, and foot problems—and if flat feet were acquired in adulthood as a result of a collapsing arches, it can be a serious problem—but if your child or young adult is not experiencing any painful symptoms, discomfort, developmental delays, or difficulty walking and standing, then no treatment is recommended or necessary. But if your child is having trouble keeping up with peers, tires quickly, or “runs funny,” there may be problems.

So relax! Your toddler’s flat feet are almost certainly nothing to worry about. That said, if your child or adolescent is experiencing significant discomfort related to their flat feet, give Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic a call. He’ll make a full evaluation of your little one’s lower limbs and address any underlying issues that may require treatment. To schedule an appointment in Pleasanton or Universal City, TX, give us a call toll free at 855-972-9512.
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