Pediatric flatfoot is a common occurrence in children as most are born with a minimal arch. In most cases, children are born with what is known as “flexible flatfoot,” meaning that the arch is flexible. This condition will rectify itself naturally as the child ages. But, in cases where the child is born with “rigid flatfoot,” treatment may be required to prevent future impairment.
How is Pediatric Flatfoot Diagnosed?
The foot and ankle surgeon will examine the child’s feet and in some cases order X-rays to help aid in the diagnosis. During the examination, the surgeon will look specifically for signs of an arch while standing. Children who have no visible arch when standing or sitting tend to suffer from rigid flatfoot. Children with flexible flatfoot may have no arch when standing but then have an arch when sitting or lifting the foot.
Signs and Symptoms of Pediatric Flatfoot
Common signs and symptoms of pediatric flatfoot include:
- Pain when wearing certain types of shoes
- Pain when running or walking for lengthy periods of time
- Awkward running or walking styles
- Outward-pointing heel when standing
Can Pediatric Flatfoot Be Treated Without Surgery?
As stated earlier, most cases of pediatric flatfoot resolve themselves over time without the need of surgery or conservative treatments. In cases where treatments are required, usually custom-made orthotics proves to be the most effective treatment method.
When is Surgery Needed?
Surgical intervention for this condition is rare except in the most severe cases of rigid pediatric flatfoot. If the patient does not respond to conservative treatment techniques, then the foot and ankle surgeon may recommend surgery to help alleviate the pain and to restore correct foot function. There are several surgical techniques available for this condition with each depending upon factors such as foot type and severity of the deformity.
Regardless of the case, you surgeon at Pennsylvania Foot and Ankle Associates will discuss all of the conservative and surgical treatment options available to you so you can make the most informed decision about your treatment plan.