As parents, we’re often concerned about many aspects of our children’s wellbeing and development – and their feet are no exception. When kids have flat feet, especially when arches haven’t formed by the time a child starts school, we see many parents concerned about:
- If flat feet are normal at school age?
- Will they develop arches?
- Are they destined for foot pain?
- Should I be doing something now to help?
- Am I too late?
To help fill in the gaps, today our podiatrists have shared our insight into children’s flat feet, when you should seek treatment, and when you should breathe a sigh of relief.
Flat Feet Are Normal In Young Children
First thing’s first: flat feet are normal in young children. Their foot muscles are still developing, the fat pads around the feet are more prominent, they’re still very flexible – so having flat feet at this age is not something to worry about in most cases.
Flat Feet At School Age
School age is when we’d expect to see an arch start to form. Kids are constantly on their feet, their muscles are strengthening and lengthening, their ligaments are growing strong – so it’s common that we’d start to see arches form at this age, especially by 7 years old. If arches haven’t developed by this age, there’s a good chance that they may not and your child may have a flatter foot type.
Flat Feet And Foot Pain
It’s important to note that while having flat feet can make your child more likely to develop pain or problems with their feet and legs as they grow and into adulthood, it does not mean that they are destined for a future of tired, achy feet. We see many children and adults with flat feet who experience no pain or symptoms.
Similarly, we also see even more people who do experience some form of pain, discomfort or injury that is associated with their flat feet. Often it’s because muscles and ligaments have to work harder for every step taken with a flatter foot type, making them more prone to overuse.
Helping Kids With Flat Feet
Trust your instincts. If something you’re seeing about your child’s walking or their flat feet is concerning you, bring them in to be assessed. This is especially important if the flat feet are paired with:
- Regular tripping or falling
- Foot or leg pain
- Being unable to complete full sports games or training without discomfort
- Never being able to find comfortable shoes
Our experienced podiatrists will complete a comprehensive assessment to understand exactly how your child’s feet and legs are working together, where any overuse is occurring, and what the best next steps are.
For some kids, this means switching to a supportive and stabilising pair of shoes and monitoring development over the coming years. For others, it means slipping a pair of custom orthotics into their school shoes that they will barely notice – but that may help them have long, comfortable days on their feet – or full sports games without pain.
You Are Not Too Late To Help Flat Feet
Flat feet do not have a short window where you must take action in order for an arch to develop – it’s often genetics that will influence your child’s foot type. What’s important for you to help with is whether this foot type is allowed to cause pain and other symptoms.
Here at Perform Podiatry, we’re parents too – so we get it. We’d love to help your family stay healthy, happy and active – book your appointment by calling us on 09 523 2333 or book your appointment online.