Flat Feet

What is it?

Refers to a wide range of foot conditions that result in lowering of the medial arch of the foot

Infants are usually born with flat feet. As the infant grows into a child an arch usually gradually develops and can be seen when the child is standing. This happens gradually, up until the age of 6 years old.  


However, it is also quite common for a child not to develop an arch in standing. This occurs in about one in five children. In this instance the child’s feet are usually flexible, and an arch can be seen in the foot when the child stands on tip-toes or when they are sitting and not putting any weight through their feet. This may be because of a family history of flat feet or ligamentous laxity which may cause flat feet.


How do you treat flexible flat feet?

A foot that is flexible and pain free does not usually require any treatment.  Arch supports or inserts in shoes only have minimal affect of producing and arch but are indicated if the child wrecks shoes early or complains of foot strain.

Flat feet that are severe require careful assessment both clinically and radiologically to determine the cause of the flat-footedness and may require surgical correction. Surgery is usually very successful in restoring normal foot posture with good active function but has to be directed to the underlying cause of the flat-footedness.