Abracadabra! It’s like magic—the arch of a child’s foot disappears upon standing, then reappears when the child sits or tiptoes. This is called flexible pediatric flatfoot, something most children are born with and outgrow over time. However, when the magic doesn’t work, and the arch does not reappear when sitting or standing on tiptoe, it’s called rigid flatfoot, and that can be problematic. Just because you can’t wave a wand and make the condition go away doesn’t necessarily mean your child needs flatfoot surgery, however. Your podiatrist may have some other tricks up his sleeve.

First, let’s make sure it’s not all an illusion. Typically you can see if feet are flat just by looking at them, but sometimes you only notice other symptoms, like a change in the way your child walks. If his or her heels are tilted outward, or if your little one complains of tenderness or cramping in their feet or legs, especially when they walk, then it would be wise to seek help.  At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, the doctors will observe your child sitting, standing, and walking, as well as examine the wear of his or her shoes. X-rays may be necessary to determine the extent of the condition.

To relieve discomfort, soft shoe inserts may be recommended or custom orthotics prescribed. These devices slip right inside your child’s shoes and offer added arch support and cushioning. Parents might also be provided with stretching exercises to teach their children.

If your child continues to experience pain or discomfort despite these treatments, flatfoot surgery may have to be considered. Procedures vary depending on the child’s age and the severity of the condition.

When it comes to your little one’s arches, now you see it, now you don’t is not necessarily a bad thing. If the arch doesn’t reappear, however, contact Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists here in Austin TX. Call (512) 328-8900 for more information.

Photo Credit: Sura Nualpradid via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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