Summer vacation! Most kids in the area have already been out for a week or two, and those few still left are probably finishing up this week. That means the little ones are probably out enjoying the great outdoors, running to and fro with their friends.
In truth, kids are very frequently born with flexible flat feet—that’s pretty normal. Because bones and joints are so flexible at this stage, feet tend to flatten when the child bears weight. Most kids grow out of this condition by age 6 or so. However, for some kids—perhaps as many as 20 percent—those arches never develop, and feet remain flat into adolescence and adulthood.
Not all flat feet will necessarily cause pain, limit motion, or require treatment. However, in some cases flat feet can cause major discomfort for your young one. For example, in a condition called tarsal coalition, fused bones in the rear section of the foot can lead to extremely rigid, stiff, painful flat arches. This can make it very difficult to walk and run, particularly on uneven surfaces. In other cases, flat feet might be associated with extremely tight Achilles tendons that impair range of motion in the ankles.
Even if there are no obvious symptoms, and your child seems to enjoy active play just fine, we still recommend you take your child in for a checkup if you notice arches haven’t formed. It may well be the case that nothing needs to be done. However, it’s much better to be safe than sorry, especially when the consequences could turn into life-long problems. Our team will provide a careful examination and, if necessary, recommend further options such as stretching, orthotics, or in severe cases, surgery.
Let’s make sure this summer is a great one for your child! If you need to see us in either Gilbert or Chandler, give us a call at (480) 963-9000.