Flexible Flatfoot in Children
Flexible flatfoot is a common condition in children that affects both feet.
It is characterized by the disappearance of the arch of the foot when
a child stands, but not when a child is sitting or on their toes. An abnormally
low or absent arch is typically painless and will not cause difficulties
with walking or athletic activity.
As children with little to no arch in their feet age and grow, tissues
in the bottom of the foot will tighten and progressively shape the arches
of the foot. Most children with the condition will not develop an arch
until they are 5 years of age or older. In some cases, an arch may never develop.
When flexible flatfoot continues as a child enters adolescence, it can
cause pain along the bottom of the feet, especially after walking or physical
activity. When a child does experience pain, a physician can evaluate
the condition and determine an appropriate treatment plan. A personalized
evaluation from a doctor is important in ruling out other issues that
may require treatment, such as flexible flatfoot with a tight Achilles
tendon or rigid flatfoot.
Flexible Flatfoot Treatment
Treatment is required in cases where a child experiences pain and discomfort
as the result of flexible flatfoot, and may include several nonsurgical
- Stretching / physical therapy – Pain caused by activity or weakness
in the leg, ankle, or foot may be treated with physical therapy and stretching
exercises that can strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and improve
function. Stretches of the heel cord can help relieve pain during activity.
- Shoe modifications – Shoe inserts that provide molded arch supports
can help relieve pain and fatigue in the foot, ankle, or leg. In-shoe
orthotics can help children walk comfortably.
- Bracing / casting – In cases of more advanced forms of flatfoot that
don’t respond to other approaches, bracing or casting may be used,
including in cases involving flexible flatfoot with tight heel cords.
Surgical treatment may be required in more serious cases involving children
who experience persistent pain into adolescence, or when there is another
underlying condition in the foot or ankle. In some instances, flexible
flatfeet may not correct as a child ages and may become rigid, which can
necessitate other treatment approaches or surgery.
Request an Evaluation Appointment Today
If your child is experiencing pain as a result of flexible flatfoot, our
board certified specialists are available to perform an evaluation and
develop a treatment plan that can help provide the relief your child needs
improve their quality of life and enjoy physical activity. To request
an appointment, call Torrance Memorial Physician Network today.