What is Flexible Flat Foot?

Children are born with flexible flat foot, a condition in which the arch of the foot shrinks or disappears when they stand. Parents and other family members often worry needlessly that an abnormally low or absent arch in a child’s foot will lead to permanent deformities or disabilities. Most children eventually outgrow flat foot problems without any issue. This condition is usually painless, does not interfere with walking or sports participation, and corrects itself over time without surgery or other treatment.

What Happens During Flexible Flat Foot?

A flexible flat foot has normal muscle function and good joint mobility and is considered normal. The shape of bones and lax ligaments in the foot prevent a strong arch between the toes and heel (longitudinal arch) on weight-bearing. As the child grows and walks on it, the foot’s soft tissues tighten, shaping its arch gradually. Flexible flat foot often continues until the child is at least age 5 or older. If flexible flat foot continues into adolescence, the child may experience aching pain along the bottom of the foot.

Diagnosing Flexible Flat Foot in Children

To make the diagnosis, an examination is necessary to rule out other types of flatfeet that may require treatment. These types include flexible flat foot with a tight heel cord, or rigid flat foot, a more serious condition. It is important to know if anyone else in the family is flat-footed or if the child has a known neurological or muscular disease.

Flexible Flat Foot Treatment

Treatment for flexible flat foot is required only if symptoms from the condition are experienced. If the child has activity-related pain or tiredness in the foot/ankle or leg, the doctor may recommend stretching exercises to lengthen the heel cord. If discomfort continues, shoe inserts may be recommended. Sometimes physical therapy or casting may be necessary. Occasionally, surgical treatment can help an adolescent with persistent pain. A small number of flexible flatfeet become rigid instead of correcting with growth. These cases may need further medical evaluation.

Flexible Flat Foot Relief in Chicagoland

Even though the condition is relatively painless in most children, an untreated condition can lead to further complications in the future. An accurate diagnosis from an experienced orthopedic surgeon is the first step towards walking without any discomfort. To explore more orthopedic services and treatment options for flexible flat foot, feel free to contact Dr. Vora for the expertise you need to move freely and promote the maximum efficiency of your body.