When a child is born, the fat padding in their feet makes their feet look flat. Don’t worry about it though, since most children form arches in their feet as they learn to walk. However, a few can stay flat-footed even as they continue to grow up. The fate of their flat feet can go the painful route or the asymptomatic route with no problems.
Other than genetics or deformity in the development of their bones and soft tissues, there’s no easy way to predict which way flat feet will go. Most children will grow out of having flat feet by age 6 or 7. If they don’t, it’s important to seek treatment, especially if they are suffering from painful symptoms in their feet. A combination of orthotics and physical therapy can help children find relief from flat feet.
There’s another twist of fate of flat feet – those who never had flat feet, but get them as adults.
This is called adult-acquired flat feet. This can happen because of wear and tear on the soft tissues in the feet and ankles. The following are reasons why adults might become flat-footed:
● Arthritis: When there is arthritis in the feet, inflammation can cause problems to the joints and tendons, causing a weakening of the arch.
● Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction: The posterior tibial tendon supports the arch in the foot, so when the tendon is overworked or strained, it can become weak and cause the arch to collapse.
● Lisfranc Injury: Blunt trauma to the middle of the foot can cause tearing in the ligaments. This can cause the arch to become flat.
● Obesity: As a person becomes heavier, the feet have to work harder to support additional weight. The excessive weight can cause the arch to collapse.
If you are worried about your child’s feet or want to take steps to prevent problems with flat feet, make an appointment with our podiatrists at The Podiatry Group. Our team of foot doctors can perform a thorough assessment of your feet at our Jonesboro, AR office and prescribe you custom orthotics if necessary.