Helping kids of all ages to live a more active life through FUNctional movement.
I’m Michèle Delfino, a pediatric physiotherapist in Ottawa. Parents often ask me about flat feet and if they should be worried about their child’s flat feet . They typically notice that either their own feet or their partner’s are flat and start to question whether they have passed those feet on to their child. Most of the time they have! Here’s a really fun little clip to show you some tips to help your child with their flat feet – and make sure you read on!
It is true that before the age of 4 years old kids are meant to have flat feet due to the position of the heel at that age. However, there is such thing as being “too flat”.
But how do I know if my child’s feet are too flat?
Unlike adults, flat feet don’t typically cause pain in children. In the pediatric population it presents as poor endurance, frequent falls, and gross motor milestone delays. This is when a trained professional such as a physiotherapist can assess your child from top to bottom to see if early intervention is needed for those flat feet. After 6 years old, the heel position should have changed, and they should now have developed a good arch.
What if the heel position doesn’t change and this flat footedness doesn’t improve?
This will most likely impact their bone development and their alignment causing in toeing (pigeon toed), out-toeing, and knocked knees. Eventually when these children get to school age or teens they may experience growing pains, shin splints, knee pain, and/or leg pain. This can also lead to heel pain, plantar pain, back and/or hip pain when they become adults. If we intervene early to improve alignment, we can prevent these issues!
Does this resonate with you as a parent?
Trust your intuition as a parent and consider bringing your child for a physiotherapy assessment if you believe your child is having some difficulties with their gross motor development. Pediatric physiotherapists play detective to see what structures are impeding your child from attaining their optimal level of function. After a thorough assessment, a treatment plan will be provided that may include exercises and other fun things to do to help work on or improve the arches and or associated reasons for the flat feet. We may even recommend you see a Pedorthist or Podiatrist to get fitted for custom orthotics while you work through your treatment plan.