flat feet in children

The Flat Feet conversation with your Podiatrist

Sabina Bireroglu

Sabina Bireroglu

Registered Australian Podiatrist

In my career so far, I can comfortably say that I have met hundreds of patients who have come into my clinic to see me about flat feet.

Concerned for their children or because they’ve started getting some niggly pain in their feet.

I mean, I understand the negative correlation over history with having no arches
had meant that you were not able to get into the army.
With the core belief that a flat-footed person with low to no arch in their foot can not properly 
absorb the shock from the increased ground force reaction
during high-impact training.
That instead the shock unable to be absorbed by the feet will transfer to the spine.
Lucky for many these rules have changed. 
Today, flat feet are very common. Prevalent in about 30% of the population.
With 1 in 10 people having related painful symptoms.

Most people are not aware that they have flat feet until they start to feel the effects of the condition. The worse your symptoms are, the more you will start to feel them.

This article will cover all you need to know about the Pes Planus (Flat) Foot.

flat feet

So, what does it mean to have Pronated Flat Feet?

The arch of the foot serves as an adaptable, supportive base for the entire body.
Flat feet (referred to as pes planus or the pronated foot in the Podiatry world) are characterised by the excessive pronation of the feet.
Flat feet are more noticed from the perspective of the arches.
When a person has little to no visible arch in their feet. 
Flexible flat feet in children are common,
with a reported prevalence of 44% in early childhood.
As common as it is to have flat feet in early childhood,
the condition is usually symptom-free and improves as the child reaches 8-9 years of age.

Types of Flat (Pes Planus) Feet

Pes planus or flat feet can be divided into flexible flatfoot and rigid flatfoot.
If your arches a present when sitting or lying down yet disappears when standing and weight-bearing,
then it is considered a flexible flat foot.
Flexible flat feet account for 95% of total cases.
Rigid flatfoot, however, is a significant restriction in the ankle joint, more specifically the subtalar joint.
It is non-physiologic and is often associated with pain,
and has a more serious underlying cause,
such as a tarsal coalition or a neuromuscular process.

What causes the Pronation in Flat Feet?

The biggest causes of flat feet are genetics and trauma.
Genetics are the most common cause of flat feet. This means that you were born with flat feet, and there is nothing much you can do to change that.
Trauma can come from a variety of sources,
including over-training, poor footwear, and poor alignment.
A few other associated causes of losing those arches include the following:

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction 

An injury to the posterior tibial tendon is one of the most common causes of calf and ankle pain.
The posterior tibial tendon runs parallel to the outside of the calf and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.
When the posterior tibial tendon is injured, the calf muscle becomes weak.
This can cause the foot to collapse, or the leg to buckle inwards when the foot is weight-bearing.

Tight Achilles Tendon

This condition leads to a premature heel lift once you are walking or running.
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is a type of flat foot that occurs in adulthood.
This condition occurs when the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the inside of the ankle is injured, swollen, or torn.

Prevention and treatment for flat feet.

Because flat feet are most commonly caused by genetics. It’s not possible to avoid.
If you have flat feet, there are things you can do to prevent and treat them from producing pain.
For example, if you have flexible flat feet, special orthotics or insoles will help reduce symptoms.
Orthotics are devices that Podiatrists prescribe and design
to provide support by correcting the feet and reducing foot pronation.
They are custom-made to be created to the exact arch height and heel correction your foot needs.
Buying over-the-counter insoles may work for some.
However, the limitation of store-bought insoles is that they are made in the masses. They most often do not correct the foot but only create some padding.
The best option for most people is custom orthotics. Every foot needs different corrections.

When you should see a Podiatrist?

In most cases, flat feet are harmless and require no treatment.
The only time you really need to see a podiatrist is if you feel pain,
if you have been diagnosed with rigid flatfoot, or if you are otherwise having foot or ankle pain.
One of the most common treatments for flat feet is orthotics. In these cases, Unisoles Podiatrists have options for you.

Getting custom orthotics has never been easier.

Click on Get Started to begin your assessment today by our Unisoles Podiatrist.

Get top-quality foot orthotic insoles created by licenced Australian podiatrists delivered directly to your doorstep today.