If your child regularly complains of foot or ankle pain, don’t wait to seek treatment for pediatric flatfoot. Without early intervention, the condition can affect your child’s quality of life and ability to play sports or participate in other physically active tasks. James Cottom, DPM, FACFAS, and Jay Badell, DPM, AACFAS at Florida Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center, and the team, work with children and teens to safely manage pediatric flatfoot. To make an appointment for your child at the practice, call the or use the online booking tool today.

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What is pediatric flatfoot?

Pediatric flatfoot is a common structural abnormality characterized by a flat or nonexistent foot arch. Without an arch, your child’s foot makes direct contact with the ground.

In most cases, arches form as a child gets older. However, if your child’s feet remain flat, it increases the risk of musculoskeletal problems, including poor posture, along with knee and ankle pain.

What are the symptoms of pediatric flatfoot?

In its early stages, pediatric flatfoot doesn’t always present symptoms. Over time, your child might experience:

  • Foot pain
  • Pain that increases during physical activity
  • Ankle swelling
  • Tight heel muscles

Almost all children experience foot or ankle pain on occasion, but if your child’s symptoms persist for more than a few days, make an appointment at Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute.

What causes pediatric flatfoot?

The most common cause of pediatric flatfoot is genetics. For example, if you or your partner have flatfeet, your child is more likely to, as well. Other factors that may contribute to pediatric flatfoot include diabetes, obesity, arthritis, and foot and ankle injuries.

How is pediatric flatfoot diagnosed?

To diagnose pediatric flatfoot, your child’s provider physically examines their feet and asks about their symptoms, including when they first started, if any activities seem to make them worse, and how they’d rate the pain on a scale of 1-10. Afterward, they have your child do a series of easy exercises to assess their strength, range of motion, and posture.

If necessary, your child’s provider might also order X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI. These imaging techniques provide detailed images of the bones, joints, and soft tissue structures in your child’s feet. They can alert your child’s provider to structural abnormalities invisible to the naked eye.

How is pediatric flatfoot treated?

Treatment of pediatric flatfoot depends on the severity of your child’s symptoms and their effect on their daily life. Whenever possible, the team at Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute recommends noninvasive treatments, including:

  • Arch supports
  • Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes
  • Stretching exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Rest
  • Weight loss

If your child’s foot pain persists, they might also benefit from taking over-the-counter pain medication.

If you’re concerned about your child’s risk of pediatric flatfoot, make an appointment at Florida Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center by calling the nearest office or by using the online booking tool today.