Pediatric Flatfoot—When to Worry

At Edmond Norman Foot & Ankle many of the cases of flat feet that we see in adults had their beginnings in childhood. Knowing what to look for and when to seek medical advice is important in protecting the health of your child’s feet.

Baby Feet

An infant’s feet are very soft and flexible. Before a child is walking, it is difficult to assess if there are arch problems because the foot is still forming and the excess of baby fat may make it difficult to fully view the arch. What’s important at this stage is that babies are free to stretch and move their feet as they wish. Avoid tight socks and restrictive shoes as these can impede the natural growth of the foot.

Toddler’s Steps

Don’t force toddlers to walk before they are ready. In most cases, when their feet have developed to the proper point, toddlers will start taking steps. It’s common for toddlers to have problems with their gate in the beginning stages of walking: in-toeing, walking on tip toe and just being generally unstable are not causes for concern at this age.

Signs of Trouble

By the time a child reaches the age of 8, the bone structure and mechanics of the foot are usually set. By this age, children usually outgrow the gait issues of toddlerhood. If in young childhood you notice that your child seems to have a flat foot when he or she is standing or they complain of pain in the arch of the foot or their back or legs, it’s time to have an evaluation by our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. A. Bil Buksh.

In addition, you should be on the lookout for symptoms of other foot disorders such as:

  • Abnormal shape of the foot
  • Toes drifting inward or outward
  • Walking on the inside or the outside of the foot
  • Deformities in the toes or foot
  • Changes in skin or nail color or appearance
  • Pain

When caught in the early stages, the foot doctor can prescribe treatment in the form of orthotics or special shoes, night splints, braces or other methods to correct the problem before permanent damage occurs. If you have concerns about your child’s feet, schedule an appointment at our Edmond or Norman office.