Pediatric flatfoot is a condition in which the arch of the foot disappears or shrinks when a child stands. With flexible pediatric flatfoot, the arch reappears when standing on tiptoe or siting. If the arch does not reappear upon standing on tiptoe or sitting, this is known as rigid flatfoot. These conditions are usually present at birth, but most children outgrow them on their own before age five. If the condition is causing pain or doesn’t go away on its own, it may be time to call in a podiatrist for help.
Symptoms of Pediatric Flatfoot
Symptoms of flatfeet can vary, depending on the type, the severity, and the age of the child. When a child has a flexible foot disorder, it generally does not cause any pain or discomfort and no treatment is needed. Kids with a rigid foot disorder may have problems that require treatment or therapy by a podiatrist. If pain occurs, it is usually felt in the foot, ankle, or lower leg, and can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms include cramping in the feet or legs, a change in gait, or heels that tilt upwards.
Diagnosing the Problem
Your child’s pediatrician or podiatrist can usually provide a diagnosis upon examination. To make a proper diagnosis, the physician may ask your child to sit up, stand, sit down, walk, and stand on his or her tiptoes. If the problem seems severe, the physician may also have an X-ray taken of the foot to determine the extent of the deformity. If the ankle does not move much, the physician may associate the condition with a shortened or tight Achilles tendon, which may require additional treatment.
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