Do children’s flat feet need treatment? 

FAQ: Flat Feetchild’s flat feet only need treatment if the child is experiencing pain, discomfort, or difficulty walking and running due to the condition. If your child is free from painful symptoms, you should have nothing to worry about. Young children especially often have no arches, or arches that disappear when the child is standing—a condition known as flexible flatfoot. It’s very normal—kids’ bones are still very soft and flexible at this stage; it may not be until age 6 or older when tissues finally tighten and become more rigid, forming a distinctive arch shape. Early fatigue, difficulty keeping up with other kids, and avoiding activity are all warning signs. Most kids rarely complain of pain—they just stop doing things that hurt. However, if your child is having difficulty with foot pain, bring him or her in to see Dr. Darren SIlvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle. There may be an underlying condition that requires more attention. Request an appointment online, or call us at 855-972-9512 to see us in Pleasanton or Universal City, TX. Do I need surgery for flat feet?  Flatfoot reconstruction is a big procedure that’s usually reserved as a last resort for flat feet that are painful but don’t respond to conservative treatment methods. Noninvasive options are always tried first, usually for several months, before moving to surgery. Shoe changes, custom orthotics, physical therapy, and a few other methods are normal ways of caring for flat feet. Sometimes, however, these do not help you. You might need surgery for flatfoot pain if your low arches cause significant discomfort that gets in the way of normal daily activities—and no other treatments have helped. If so, we can evaluate your feet and decide if you would benefit from surgery. Dr. Darren Silvester and our team at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic will use diagnostic images and other tests to determine the severity of your flatfoot problem, and then decide what procedure to use. If you’re struggling to deal with your flat feet, let us help you decide if surgery is right for you. Call (210) 375-3318 to make an appointment with our Pleasanton, TX, office. Why do the surgery at all for flat feet?  Fixing flat feet in kids creates a different child in many cases. The child becomes more active, enjoys being outdoors more, and likes to run and play instead of sit while playing most of the time. Childhood obesity is a serious problem in which flat feet play a significant role due to the fact that a high percentage of overweight kids have bad foot mechanics or flat feet. Some studies suggest the incidence of flat feet in obese children at early ages is over 50%. The question is, “Does the obesity cause the flat feet or did the flat feet (and associated inactivity) cause the obesity?” The answer is probably both. Flat feet later in life causes other body parts to hurt. Of course the feet, but the knees and back can also hurt as well. Many cases of flat feet don’t require treatment, but if your child is 7 or 8 and is avoiding activity or is overweight, perform a wet foot print test. If you don’t see an arch or the arch is very small give us a call and get them checked. It can be a game changer!

What is the best age to consider surgery for flat feet?  In general, after the diagnosis has been made, the sooner the procedure is done, the better. The reason for this is because the foot bones at the age of 7 are much softer. Early correction means the foot is better aligned during critical growth years. The foot bones then grow into a correct position. At the age of 16, the bones are almost the same as an adults and they have very little ability to adapt. These are the cases that often require more extensive procedures.

What types of surgeries are there for flat feet?  There are medical devices such as arch supports, orthotics or braces that can be helpful sometimes. These will not, however, change the bone position that is needed to restore normal foot function. Surgery can be very helpful for these kids and make a big difference in their lives. What can be done about flat feet?  There are medical devices such as arch supports, orthotics or braces that can be helpful sometimes. These will not, however, change the bone position that is needed to restore normal foot function. Surgery can be very helpful for these kids and make a big difference in their lives.

How do you get flat feet as a child?  Most of the time if you question the family there is some family history of flat feet. Often these people have knee or hip or back pain at an early age. Different types of foot pain can develop. These include pain in the heels, on the balls of the foot or inside or outside of the ankles. It is usually hereditary. Rarely, some injury can play a roll. What is the problem with flat feet?  The main problem with flat feet is that they are in a poor functional position that creates a lot of stress on the foot, knee, hip, and back. This may take years before the symptoms become present but some signs are easily seen early in life. Usually the child does not like to run or “runs funny.” The child has a hard time keeping up with his peers in sports or play. The child will not usually complain of pain but complains of being tired when required to walk any distance. The child starts unconsciously avoiding playing and gravitates toward sitting activities. Are flat feet in kids normal?  Yes and no. Almost all children are born with feet that are flat and floppy. They make a full footprint on the ink pad impression that we have all seen. This condition normally continues for the first three years of life. After the age of 3, the foot starts to change and develop an arch. If you have a 7 year old and the feet still make a full foot print on the ground when the feet are wet you may have a problem. Get a good opinion of what is going on. A word of caution: MANY doctors will tell parents “Little Tommy will grow out of it,” but that has not been true in clinical research. After age 6 or 7 the alignment of the foot and leg don’t seem to improve very much.