What is Pediatric Flatfoot?


Flatfoot is the partial or total collapse of the arch. Flatfoot is common in both children and adults. When it happens to children, it is called “pediatric flatfoot.” Pediatric flatfoot can be obvious at birth or it may not show up until years later.

Symptoms of Pediatric Flatfoot

Pediatric flatfoot can be classified as symptomatic or asymptomatic. Asymptomatic flatfeet show no symptoms, while symptomatic flatfeet have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain, tenderness, or cramping in the foot, leg, and knee.
  • Outward tilting of the heel.
  • Awkwardness or changes in walking.
  • Difficulty wearing shoes.
  • Reduced energy when participating in physical activities.
  • Quitting physical activities.

Diagnosis of Pediatric Flatfoot

If parents suspect their child may have pediatric flatfoot, they should consult a foot and ankle doctor as soon as possible.

The foot and ankle doctor will examine the foot and observe how it looks when the child stands, sits, walks; and evaluated the range of motion of the foot. Because flatfoot is sometimes related to problems in the leg, a foot and ankle surgeon may also examine the knee and hip. X-rays are often taken to check the severity of the deformity.

Treatment of Pediatric Flatfoot

When the child has symptoms, treatment is required. The foot and ankle surgeon may select one or more of the following options:

  • The child needs to temporarily decrease activities that bring pain as well as avoid prolonged walking or standing.
  • The foot and ankle surgeon may provide custom orthotic devices that fit inside the shoe to support the structure of the foot.
  • Stretching exercises, supervised by the foot and ankle surgeon or a physical therapist, can provide relief in some cases of flatfoot.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • The foot and ankle surgeon will advise you on footwear characteristics that are important for the child with flatfoot.

Surgical Treatment of Pediatric Flatfoot

In some cases, surgery is necessary to relieve the symptoms and improve foot function. The surgical procedure selected by a foot and ankle surgeon for your child will depend on his or her type of flatfoot.

Remember, any type of foot or ankle pain is never normal. A foot and ankle doctor can examine your feet and give you the best course of action.

Please call (626) 447-2184 (Arcadia) or (818) 408-2800 (San Fernando) to speak to a foot and ankle specialist about your foot and/or ankle needs.

Foot & Ankle Pain Is Not Normal

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