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A/prof Nicole Williams examining a baby's feet

Flat Feet

Flat feet (or pes planus) are a common developmental childhood condition in children.

Flat feet occurs due to developing muscle tone, generous padding of fat and flexible ankle ligaments. This permits the foot to lean inwards and means that when the child is standing, the whole foot is touching the ground.

Treatment is rarely required, as your child masters walking, the ligament and muscles will strengthen and develop normal arches.

Children with flat feet usually have no symptoms. The following symptoms prompt a check by a Doctor.

  • Foot pain
  • Stiffness
  • Only one foot is affected

The typical flat foot in children is due to flexible ligaments that hold the bones together. The usual flexible flat foot causes no symptoms even later in life. Flat feet may be a genetically inherited family trait.

Your child’s Doctor will examine the feet. An X-ray or scans may only occasional be needed. A specialist may be needed if your child has pain or stiffness in their feet, or only one foot is affected.

Flexible flat feet with no symptoms do not require treatment. Shoe inserts or foot exercises will not make an arch develop. The best shoe keeps the foot protected and comfortable and also allows freedom of motion and space to grow.

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