What is Childhood Flat Foot?

Childhood or pediatric flat foot is a condition that some children are born with, most experiencing no adverse symptoms and which is usually outgrown by the age of five. There are two types of childhood flat foot: flexible and rigid.

Diagnosing Childhood Flat Foot

A diagnosis of flexible childhood flat foot may be made when the arch of the foot, having disappeared when the child stood, reappears when the child stands on tiptoe or sits. In contrast, the arches do not reappear in a case of rigid flat foot, which is not as common as flexible flat foot.

Treatment for Flat Foot in Children

Treatment for flexible flat foot is required only if adverse symptoms from the condition are experienced, and may include stretching exercises and shoe inserts as well as therapy and/or casting. If pain persists, surgical treatment may be indicated.

Common Conditions Associated with Flat Foot

Another condition associated with flat foot is a congenital one which usually manifests in adolescence. Called tarsal coalition, the underlying problem is a failure of complete separation of the bones of the hindfoot area, known as the tarsal bones. The condition is evident when, even with the foot lifted off the ground, the normal arch will not be restored due to the foot’s rigidity, and the foot with remain in a flat position at all times. A tarsal coalition may be treated through immobilization, which allows the two edges of the bone to again stabilize each other. Surgically removing the bone connecting the others involved is another option, while fusion is usually only considered in the case of arthritis between the joints.

If pain and weakness of the foot present, the diagnosis may be that there is an accessory navicular bone. This is an extra bone or piece of cartilage adjacent to the normal navicular bone and while many people who have it are unaware of its presence, it is possible that it may cause irritation by rubbing. The weakness is caused when one of the main tendons of the foot (called the posterior tibial tendon), which inserts into the normal navicular bone and balances the foot, has its function disrupted by the presence of the accessory navicular bone. Therapies range from orthotics and/or a period of immobilization in a cast to surgery.

Childhood Flat Foot Treatment Near You

Flat foot in children can be equally as uncomfortable in children as it is in adults. Luckily, kids heal very fast and can use their young age to their advantage. With a child’s rapid healing in mind, early detection is the first step towards the most efficient recovery. Dr. Vora will pair his expert knowledge of orthopedic foot conditions with cutting-edge treatment tactics to accurately diagnose childhood flat foot. This way, kids will be able to grow, walk, run and play without pain for years to come. To schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Vora in a Chicagoland office location near you for comprehensive orthopedic treatment.