Parents keep a close eye on their growing children, watching for proper development and alert for any sign of a problem because small problems can have big implications. Pediatric flatfoot is a childhood condition that, if left untreated, can result in permanent deformity in adulthood. Flatfoot deformity makes mobility and exercise painful, increasing the risk of reduced cardiovascular health and obesity.
Parents never want their child to undergo a surgical procedure. But uncorrected symptomatic flatfoot can lead to chronic pain and instability as the child ages into adulthood. Children will be on their feet for a long time to come. It’s vital to keep those feet healthy. A podiatrist can help parents understand the options—surgical and non-surgical—for treating pediatric flatfoot.
Not all children have symptoms, but others will complain of pain, tenderness or cramping in the foot, leg, and knee. Parents may notice an outward tilting of the heel, awkwardness or clumsiness in walking and difficulty with shoes. Pediatric flatfoot makes participating in activities more difficult, so parents should take note if their child is unable to keep up with playmates, tires easily or voluntarily withdraws from physical activities.
To diagnose a pediatric flatfoot, a podiatrist examines the child’s foot in weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing positions, both in and out of shoes. The physician also notes how the child walks and evaluates the foot’s range of motion. In some cases, flat feet are associated with issues of the hip and knee, so the physician may examine those as well.
If you are concerned about your child developing Flatfoot, the podiatrists’ at North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best advice and options.