If you’ve ever spent time looking at your newborn’s foot (a likelihood for many parents), you probably noticed the smoothness of their soles. That isn’t just attributed to their unblemished baby skin. Out of the womb, we all have flat feet.
In fact, it takes years for our bodies to develop our arches. As a result, we get a lot of parents worried about their children’s flat feet when they’re simply too young to have arches. Here at Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist’s offices in Homer Glen and New Lenox, Illinois, Christopher Vittori, DPM, and Ameet Thakrar, DPM, want to put parents’ minds at ease. With that in mind, we don’t just offer dedicated children’s foot care. We also put together this guide to help parents track their children’s arch development.
Arch development in kids
Babies have flat feet. In fact, children usually don’t have fully developed arches in their feet until around age 6. It takes time for the body to develop the ligaments and tendons needed to keep an arch raised even as the foot bears the body’s weight.
In other words, if your son or daughter is age 6 or younger, their flat feet shouldn’t be cause for concern. In fact, they’re completely normal.
As they get older, most kids develop an arch in their feet. That said, not all do. In fact, about 20% of children never develop an arch and live their lives with flat feet.
If you want to see if your child has an arch, dampen their foot and have them step on dry concrete or a sheet of paper (anything that will show the water). If the shape of their footprint has a curvature around their inner foot and only a narrow strip connects the heel to the ball of the foot, they’ve developed an arch.
When flat feet can be a problem
In most cases, flat feet shouldn’t cause your child any issues. Your daughter or son should wear supportive shoes, but their flat feet shouldn’t prevent them from doing anything they want to do.
In some cases, though, flat feet can cause discomfort. Without the arch to support their feet, some kids experience problems with their posture or gait that put excess pressure on certain parts of their body. If your child has leg, back, or ankle pain and you know they have flat feet, talk to our team.
We can analyze their feet. We may use diagnostic tools like an X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) to get a better idea of what’s going on inside their feet. This allows us to tailor a care plan to support their flat feet and ease any discomfort they’re feeling.
In a lot of cases, we can blend physical therapy and orthotics (personalized shoe inserts) to ensure your child’s flat feet don’t hold them back.
To learn more about flat feet in kids and when they might require care, don’t hesitate to call Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist or schedule an appointment online today.