Flat in Kids Powder Springs, GA

Flat feet in kids are 'normal' until they hit two years of age. After that, a visible arch should start to appear. (But it is normal for kids under the age of six to not have a fully visible arch.)  Worried that your child is over six and still has flat feet? Or wondering why your little one's ankles seem to roll outward with walking? Keep reading to find out the one easy solution to both these problems!

Flat Feet in Kids: Ages and Stages a child with flat feet lying in bed

When we talk about flat feet in kids, they can be rigid or flexible. The more common problem is flexible flatfeet. Here, kids can move their feet in every direction, even if though they have almost no arch or totally flat feet. 

Because there aren't complications with mobility, flexible flat feet in kids is a mild concern. Still, we should treat the problem sooner than later. Otherwise, as your child enters middle or high school, foot pain will likely be a problem. Especially along the bottom of his or her feet. Treatment will likely involve a custom orthotic, along with special exercises to stretch and strengthen kids' feet to prevent pain later on.

In some cases, your child may have a rigid flatfoot, although this is a relatively rare ( and far more concerning) condition. When we see rigid flat feet in kids, range of motion in the foot is very limited, even if they stand on the tips of their toes. Because rigid flat feet are often the result of issues with the ways kids bones are forming, it may need a more invasive intervention. In some cases, the best option may be surgery, in order to avoid pain and problems finding shoes that fit as they grow older.

Flat Feet in Kids and Ankle Rolling: What's the Connection

If you look at your child walking, do his or her ankles come close to hitting the ground? We call this ankle rolling, or pronation. And, while anything from loose ligaments or low muscle tone can lead to pronation, flat feet are also part of the reason why this happens.

Regardless of why your child's ankles roll, it's important to address this concern right away. In fact, the sooner you schedule an appointment with our kids podiatrist in Powder Springs the better. Because it's easiest to treat rolling ankles in younger children, as their bodies are still developing.

Symptoms of Pronation

In some children, pronation is incredibly obvious. But, for other children, the rolling is less visible. So, how can you figure out if your child's ankles are rolling? Well, flat feet are a big warning sign. Then, you can look for a large bulge on the inside of your child's ankle. Your little one may also avoid walking and running, especially for long distances. Little kids could just drop to the ground and refuse to move further. And older children could tell you they have anything from knee and ankle pain to discomfort in the feet.

If your child has any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment in the office so we can check him or her for pronation. Of course, some people will tell you that kids grow out of ankle rolling. And it's true that they may. However, by allowing pronation to continue without correction, they will learn to compensate for this rolling motion. So, while their ankles may stay upright with walking, now added pressure is taking a toll on other parts of the body, from their knees down to their toes. Later in life, this will increase their risk for hammertoes, bunions, knee and heel pain, or even arthritis. That's why it's important to treat pronation and flat feet in kids, while they're still children!

Treating Pronation and Flat Feet in Kids children standing on pavement with bare feet

What's the best way to treat flat feet and rolling ankles in children? Here in the office, we offer a non-invasive solution that solves both problems: fitting kids for custom orthotic devices. Basically, these are inserts for shoes that we fit to the exact structure of your child's foot. It allows us to create the illusion of an arch, and to stabilize their feet as they move. In turn, we can prevent the complications of flat feet in kids. As a bonus, if we start this intervention early on, we can prevent adult foot pain. And foot surgery later in life!

Of course, in some cases, orthotics won't be enough to correct a child's flat feet. In such cases, we can add braces or physical therapy to the treatment protocol. Rarely, we may recommend surgery. But that option would be our very last choice, since we want to help your kids stay active and pain free whenever possible.

Remember, when you come into the office, our main goal will be to help your child move through life in comfort. Now, and not in a few years, when they "outgrow" flat feet, pronation, or any other issue that makes walking, playing or even standing painful. You see, we don't think that foot pain is ever a normal part of childhood. Your kids' feet should not hurt. Ever. But we need you to partner with us to make that belief a reality.

Visiting the Children's Podiatrist in Powder Springs, GA

Unfortunately, children aren't always able to tell us when they're in pain. Even when they know something is wrong, explaining the exact cause of the problem may be difficult. That's why, as parents, we need to do a little detective work to keep them happy. Do you notice signs of pronation in your child's feet? Do the kids feet seem to be flat when they stand, or do they keep tripping or walking clumsily? All of these could be signs of flat feet, which means it's time to come into the office right away. With early intervention, we can resolve flat feet in kids, eliminating pain today and preventing more serious problems for tomorrow and beyond.

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