Children's flat feet

The flatfoot it is defined by the absence of the normal arch of the sole of the foot of children. Without this arch, children walk with the entire sole of the foot on the ground, when they should only support the toe, heel and outer edge of the feet. It is not a serious problem but it constitutes one of the most frequent inquiries of parents in children's orthopedics.

It is very normal for babies to have flat feet. The accumulation of fat, combined with the weakness of the ligaments, means that the feet of babies do not present the arch on their sole. The arch develops little by little as the muscles of the baby's feet get stronger. It is only after 2 or 3 years of age, when the child has already been walking for one or two years, that the internal arch in their feet will be noticeable.

In some cases parents can see how the arch appears only when the child stands on tiptoe. And in others, the arch can be seen only when the child's foot is not supported. Both one case and the other is not considered normal, even if the child does not feel pain.

If the child has foot pain, ankle pain or pain in the lower leg, it may be symptoms of flat feet.In these cases, parents should discuss their doubts with the child's pediatrician, who will make an assessment for whether the child needs the care of a specialist or not. A proper diagnosis can only be determined when the child begins to take his first steps.

Children's flat feet can be corrected with simple treatments, based on the performance of exercises that favor the strengthening of the muscles of the soles of the feet, such as walking barefoot on the sand, walking on tiptoe and heels, making movements circular with the tips of the feet, try to catch objects with the toes. When flat feet are very accentuated and flexible, it can cause pain in children.

Apart from the pain, children with flat feet may experience muscle cramps as well as other discomfort, so it is recommended that you take your child to a specialist in children's orthopedics. In cases like this, the orthopedist may, apart from exercises, recommend the use of orthopedic inserts or shoes to reduce pain.

Only in cases of rigid flat feet that cause pain and changes in the gait of children, surgical treatment by a specialist can be advised. As long as children's bones continue to grow, flat feet can be cured. The maximum age to reverse this condition is 15 years.

When the child begins, from 9 to 14 months, to want to get up on his own, to lean on furniture and on everything he can to stand, it is advisable that you consider some tips regarding the footwear that the child should use:

- That the footwear is light and made of a porous material

- That the sole of the footwear is flat, flexible, and offers adherence

- The sides of the footwear must be firm

- The toe of the foot should be square and not narrow.

It is preferable that the ankle is free and that you change two shoes before the child complains that his toes are pressing in front. It is also important to know that a baby should not be forced to walk ahead of time. That can be a big effort for him, and cause some problems.

Sources consulted:
- US National Library of Medicine - National Institute of Health

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