Pediatric flat foot is a deformity in children that can be very disabling. Often children cannot articulate what is bothering them other than it is difficult to play and keep up with other children. Participating in sports or PE can be an anxiety provoking experience. This will result in a decrease in their activity, secondary weight gain, and preference for minimal impact activity.
It is common to have a flatter arch in a child less than the age of three. This has to do with the development of a bone at the top of their foot that is critical in forming the arch. When this bone forms, the medial arch lifts off the ground and does not bear weight any longer, but serves to transfer forces through the midfoot.
A common cause of pediatric flat foot is a shortened calcaneus or heel bone. Another can be a tight Achilles tendon. Children who are toe walkers (walk on their tip toes) often have a tight Achilles. These two reasons mentioned above are predetermined by genetics. Often they can be dealt with conservatively if caught early enough. It is important to have these symptoms evaluated by your health care professional as children do not simply grow out of this condition as they age.
Specialized orthotics are often used to correct the deformity in the foot. A brace can also be used to help stretch the Achilles tendon. If these symptoms fail to resolve, surgery can correct the deformity in the foot or lengthen the tightness in the Achilles tendon. The goal is to provide a foot that is propulsive and not painful during the gait cycle. This outcome gives children the best opportunity to participate in activities without pain and without the fear of getting left behind.
For more information on a better outcome for you, or your child, contact Advanced Podiatry in Oklahoma City at 405.285.5523, or visit www.advancedpodiatryokc.com. We’re your foot and ankle solutions experts! Are you Advanced?
Tracy Hjelmstad, DPM is a Podiatrist who practices in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.