Flexible Flat Feet in Children
Throughout childhood, the posture and alignment of children’s joints change as they mature to into adults. When children are born, their ligaments are loose and flexible to allow for ease during birth. As they grow, these ligaments usually tighten over time to provide increased support for their joints.
One common observation that many parents notice is “flat feet” or flattened arches of the feet. This is a common trait in many infants, children and adults. Most young children have flexible flat feet. This is due to the normal flexibility in their ligaments during development.
Whether the flat feet are flexible can be determined by observing the child when they are on their tiptoes and/or have their feet off the ground and if the arch is apparent in these positions. Around the ages 4-6 years old the arches of most children begin to develop. For normal development of arches, it is important for children to spend time walking and playing without shoes to help build their muscle strength, sensation and joint awareness.
Wearing special shoes, inserts or orthotics will not help the arch develop in flexible flat feet. Having flat feet with no associated symptoms is very common and not a cause for concern. Flat feet only need to be addressed if they are one sided or causing issues such as stiffness, pain and difficulty with motor skills e.g. running and jumping.
If you have any concerns or would like a second opinion, your physiotherapist or podiatrist at Hoppers Physio can do a thorough assessment and determine the best way to address your child’s foot posture.