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Pes Planus (Flat Feet)

What are flat feet?

In children

  • Babies are born with the appearance of having flat feet when they are standing because their feet have fat pads.
  • Most children outgrow it eventually as their feet get larger, their baby fat disappears and their foot muscles strengthen with weight bearing activity such as      walking.
  • If your child does not develop arches by the time they are 8 years old, it is not likely they will have an arch in adulthood
  • Rigid flat feet is not normal in children and medical advice must be sought immediately

 

In adults

  • Flat feet can develop as an adult due to illness, injuries, unusual or prolonged stress to the foot, faulty biomechanics, or as part of the normal aging                    process.
  •  Most flexible flat feet are asymptomatic and do not cause pain. In these cases, there is usually no cause for concern, and the condition may be considered       a normal human variant.
  • Some flat feet can be very painful and cause extra strain on ligaments, tendons and the bones of the foot and ankle.
  • Rigid flatfoot, a condition where the sole of the foot is rigidly flat even when a person is not standing, often indicates a significant problem in the bones of        the affected feet and can cause significant pain in most people.

 

What signs indicate flat feet?

  • Flat feet don’t usually cause pain in young children but can cause pain in older children and teens.
  • In some cases the pain only occurs during or after sports or other physical activity.
  • Children may complain that their foot, ankle or leg is tired or of arch pain at night.
  • It is important to see your podiatrist if your child complains of foot pain, the ankle is red, the feet or ankles feel tired, or calluses are forming under the              arches.
  • The podiatrist will want to examine your child’s shoes and the pattern of wear.
  • Adolescents who complain of pain from flat feet should also be seen by a podiatrist.

 

What are the treatment options?

  • Treatment of flat feet is only appropriate if there is associated foot, ankle or lower leg pain, or if the condition affects the knees or the lower back.
  • Treatment for painful flat feet may include stretching and strengthening exercises

 

Foot orthotic devices can provide support for stressed joints and soft tissues.
Orthotics may also be a recommended option. An orthotic is designed to guide the mechanics of the foot to a precise degree which help the muscles and tendons to perform more efficiently. They can be custom-moulded made of composite materials that provide support and relieve pain for symptomatic flat feet.