Foot and ankle problems can appear at any age, but these conditions are most common among children. During childhood, a period of fast physical growth, problems in the feet and ankles can spur serious developmental problems. Untreated problems in these areas may even lead to reduced physical ability for life. Among orthopedic issues affecting children, flat feet are some of the most common. Babies born with flat feet normally outgrow the condition by adulthood. Most experience no problems even if the condition does not correct itself, but some kids may experience problems handling sports and other intense physical activities. Here is more about how having flat feet can affect children and how it can be treated.
Consequences of Flat Feet in Children
In children, the first signs of flat feet may show up as discomfort during sports and play and, consequently, avoidance of physical activities. Difficulty with social development may result if flat feet prevent kids from spending time with their peers. If children do not complain of pain in their feet and ankles due to flat feet, parents and others may notice limping or reluctance to participate in physical activities.
Potential long-term effects of flat feet can arise because the condition may lead to over pronation when patients walk or run. This can cause extra strain on other joints in the legs, including the ankles and knees, possibly leading to problems in those joints. Over time, the excessive rotation of these joints can lead to irregular movement and strain in the surrounding cartilage. Damage may result, leading to lasting pain and debility during physical activity.
How Pediatric Orthotics Can Help
Just as in adults, flat feet in children is often treated with orthotics. These shoe inserts can help correct the overpronation associated with flat feet and may aid in long-term recovery. Not only can orthotics help mitigate strain on the ankles and knees, but they can also cushion steps taken by the patient, resulting in less impact being taken during physical activities. Compared to store-bought orthotics, custom ones from a professional may fit better and provide more comfort to patients whose knees and ankles have already undergone long-term strain from flat feet. A pediatric podiatrist may also recommend other approaches to be used in combination with orthotics. For example, calf stretching has been shown to promote the flexibility patients with flat feet need for normal walking and running.
Manhattan and Brooklyn Podiatry Services for Children
. With an exam performed by a pediatric podiatrist, you can find out about the extent of the condition in your child and explore pediatric orthotics and other treatment options. Call today at 212-629-5090 to learn more about flat feet in children and how it can be treated by our team of experienced Manhattan and Brooklyn podiatrists.