As parents, we always want to make sure that our children are healthy and happy. As they grow we might notice every limp, misstep, or stumble and worry something is wrong. If they are stumbling when they walk or stand funny, we might worry about their gait or their feet and worry if it’s going to impact their development. If we notice something different in their stance, we might worry about flat feet or other common foot conditions. But we’re here to put your mind at ease because we know feet and flat feet generally aren’t anything to worry about.
So, let’s talk about flat feet!
Does my child have flat feet or fallen arches?
Actually, flat feet and fallen arches are two terms that mean the same thing. They both just mean that the foot is completely flat against the floor when walking or standing (rather than arched like most feet). It’s very common and usually nothing to worry about.
How do I know if my kid has fallen arches?
If you suspect your child has fallen arches, here are a few things you can check to confirm your suspicions.
- Observe their feet when they are standing up - if you notice that the arch of the foot is flattened and touches the ground, it could be a sign of flat feet.
- Check the soles of their shoes - if you see wear on the inside of the sole, it could indicate that your child has flat feet.
- Check their footprints on a wet surface like concrete - in most footprints you’ll see the heel and the forefoot, but a dry area in the center where the arch doesn’t touch the ground. If you see the center of the foot on the pavement, they might have flat feet.
- Be aware of complaints of pain or discomfort in the feet, legs, or back.
What causes flat feet in kids?
Flat feet are normal in babies and toddlers because the arches of their feet have not fully developed. But if they continue to grow and never see an arch develop, it could just be genetic.
If they develop an arch and then as they get older, the arch disappears and they develop flat feet, it could be a sign of;
- Weak arches
- Foot or ankle injuries
If your child has flat feet AND complains of pain or symptoms like:
- Pain in the heel or arch area
- Ankle swelling
- Pain that increases with activity
You should see your doctor.
My kid has flat feet, what should I do?
You might not need to do anything. You only need to worry about flat feet if your child complains of pain in the feet or lower back.
You can’t cure flat feet but you can help support your child’s feet by providing holistic support:
- The right shoes – no (or limited) flip flops, high heels, or flats without support
- Insoles for shoes without support
- Stretching exercises they can try
- Exercises to help strengthen their arches
If you’re worried about your child’s feet or gait, or if they experience pain, make sure to see a doctor!
It’s totally natural to worry about your kids, but don’t worry about flat feet unless you have to! We hope these questions were helpful and if you want to make sure your child is supported all day (even when you’re not there), you can grab an insole to add to their shoes!