Expectations in life are important. Case in point, knowing how many guests are attending your wedding helps to determine how big the cake needs to be! Once the nuptials and honeymoon are over, it might be time to begin thinking about starting a family and having children. When this happens, new parents typically expert their firstborn to come out of the womb having feet with healthy arches, or at least see them when the child begins walking.
If a son or daughter has pediatric flatfoot, it might cause concern or confusion, but here at Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida we can assure that there isn’t likely anything to be worried about!
Foot Arch Development and Flexible Flatfoot
The first thing to know when it comes to the development of foot arches is that they generally do not begin appearing until around the age of 3. Prior to this, early foot arches do actually exist but are obscured by a layer of padding. What this means is that a who begins taking his or her first steps will often do so on feet that are quite flat. Now, this is completely normal as it relates to child foot development and should not be a cause for concern.
After a child hits the age of 3, his or her foot arches might begin to emerge. Even with this being the case, there are many children who still appear to have flatfoot when they walk or stand. This is a fairly common condition known as flexible flatfoot. Arches can usually be observed when a child is sitting and his or her legs are dangling (there is no weight on the feet) or when he or she is standing on tiptoes. This condition may be present until around the age of 8, at which point foot arches are normally quite developed and become stronger.
Flexible flatfoot is not painful for the majority of children who have it, but symptoms might be present when the condition extends into the adolescent years. A symptom of particular concern is pain that is experienced along the bottom of the feet. If your son or daughter is experiencing this issue, contact our office and schedule an appointment so we can provide the treatment he or she needs.
Treating Cases of Flatfoot
As we discuss flatfoot treatment options, it is important to note that professional care for the condition is only really necessary when pain is present. If you observe that your child has flexible flatfoot but there are not any symptoms present, then it is nothing to be worried about. In this case, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on the situation to make sure things do not take a turn for the worse.
When treatment is necessary for alleviating symptoms or relieving any pain experienced, conservative treatment options like physical therapy, stretching routines, and custom orthotic devices often prove to be quite effective. In rare instances, surgical procedures are the best treatment for an arch issue, but this is something we would prefer to hold off until a patient is older.
Whereas the vast majority of pediatric flatfoot cases do not require treatment, or even resolve themselves as a child develops, we can monitor your child’s foot development and provide peace of mind. In the event your son or daughter does require treatment for the condition, we will do so in gentle, comfortable manner.
Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida is committed to providing exceptional pediatric foot care to address a wide range of medical issues, relieve painful symptoms, and ensure healthy development for our young patients. If your child is experiencing pain or restricted mobility, contact us by calling 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (when calling from Lake County) or use our online form to request an appointment at any of our five Florida offices—Orlando, Kissimmee, Tavares, Lake Mary, and Altamonte Springs—today.