What are flat feet, and is there cause for concern?

Parents want to be sure that their children are healthy from top to bottom. When parents see that their children may have fallen arches, sometimes referred to as “flat feet,” or discover it from a pediatrician, they may wonder if this is something to be concerned about.

Flat feet are quite common. A 2006 study of the condition published in the journal Pediatrics found that the prevalence of flat feet in a studied group of children between the ages of three and six was 44 percent. Whereas the prevalence of flat feet can decrease with age, it is a widely seen condition that will generally stay with a child into adulthood unless there is medical intervention.

The Mayo Clinic says that flat feet occur when the arches don’t develop during childhood. Flat feet also can occur after an injury or through wear and tear with age.

Flat feet is generally a painless condition, but for some, fallen arches can contribute to problems in the ankles and knees because the condition can impact the alignment of the legs. Also, some others may find their feet tire easily when walking. Unless there is pain, no treatment is usually advised.

Doctors may refer some patients with flat feet to a foot specialist. He or she may advise use of shoe insoles to support the feet better and also explain which types of shoes to wear for utmost comfort. The NHS, the United Kingdom’s biggest health website and a world-leading health information service, says that surgery is rarely needed for flat feet. However, it might be recommended if there’s a problem with the bones, tissues or muscles in the feet and other treatments haven’t worked.

Fallen arches are quite common and normally not something to worry about. Toddlers may grow out of the condition. However, even if flat feet are a permanent fixture, they should not affect a person’s ability to lead a fully active life.

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