While flat feet can cause vast problems for adults, flat feet in kids age seven and younger is not a concern, in most cases.
We usually do not develop arches until around age three or four, and sometimes the arch won't be detectable until first grade. Instead, young kids have a large pad of fat where the arch would normally be, which protects their feet from injury.
But In Some Cases
In some cases, kids never develop that arch and need to be evaluated by a podiatrist to avoid future problems. It might be that there are problems with the hip or knee. Sometimes the foot bones are joined together and can't move, which is painful.
When a child is diagnosed with flat feet, there are several things we can do to help relieve any pain and promote normal growth. These might include:
- Wearing a heel cup
- Shoe insert or orthotic
- Wearing more supportive shoes
- Special exercises
- Resting to relieve the pain
Shoe Shopping Tip
We also recommend that you shop at a shoe store where the staff is trained on how to properly fit shoes for children. Poorly fitted shoes can hinder the normal growth of their feet. It's also a great idea to let them just go barefoot when it's appropriate, which is the best for developing coordination and strength.