Is It Normal For My Child To Have Flat Feet?

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.

Here’s Why Being Pregnant Made Your Feet Bigger

It’s not a myth. Pregnancy really can and does make women go up in shoe size, and unfortunately, for some women, their feet stay bigger too. This phenomenon can be confusing, after all, why can your foot size increase when you’re pregnant but not when you put on weight? Today, we’re sharing exactly why.

A hormone called ‘Relaxin’

When you’re pregnant, your body is flooded with a number of different hormones. One of these is called relaxin, and it’s responsible for helping to soften and loosen your ligaments and tissues. This is essential as your body is constantly growing and expanding to accommodate your growing baby. Without softer ligaments, this process could be very painful.

Aside from helping the ligaments and tissues in your abdominal area expand, it also affects your feet, as well as the rest of your body. You have a lot of ligaments in your feet that are responsible for keeping bones stable, held in position, and supported. As these loosen, your foot may ‘relax’ and flatten – especially with the increased weight and pressure they’re under. This can result in both an increased width and length of the foot, as well as a generally ‘flatter’ foot.

This is why your feet generally do not increase in size with weight gain (unless there are other factors involved), but do in pregnancy.

Can I prevent my feet from changing size?

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent hormones from flooding your body and having this effect. What you can do is keep your feet supported throughout your pregnancy. This includes:

  • Wearing comfortable, stable and supportive footwear
  • Using custom orthotics to support and promote the natural shape and contours of your feet

By keeping your arch supported, you can help limit the stretching of the ligaments on the feet. Having your feet supported with shoe and orthotics can also help prevent overuse injuries from muscles and tendons of the feet and legs having to work harder to keep you moving with a flatter foot position. 

Your shoes will also help restore some stability that may be lost with looser ligaments. A good example is ankle sprains – with the ligaments supporting your ankle not being as ‘firm’ as they originally were, you may have a higher risk of ankle sprains. Wearing good, supportive shoes that cup the ankle can help prevent this.

Wear the right size shoes

If your feet have gone up in size and width, make sure you get shoes that fit your new size and don’t try to squeeze into your previous pairs. Trust us, as parents ourselves, the last thing you want with a new baby is foot pain. Invest in new comfortable shoes to limit any rubbing against the sides of your feet, and pressing up against the front of your toes.

Returning back to your original foot size

While some people will return back to their original foot size, others won’t. It’s hard to predict – and even harder to control. Our best advice is to keep your feet supported and protected throughout your pregnancy.

Need help staying comfortable on your feet?

Our experienced podiatry team would love to help. We’re parents too – so we totally get it. You can book your appointment online by clicking here or call us on (09) 523 2333