Flat feet occur commonly in children and are considered a normal part of the developmental process. When born, the child’s feet will appear flat due to a thick fat pad in the arch of the foot. As a child starts walking, the arch of the foot becomes more evident, developing fully by about 4-6 years of age. In a few cases, there may be failure of arch development leading to flat feet in adults.
Causes of flat feet can be:
- Excessive rolling in of the ankle (overpronation).
- Cerebral palsy.
- Fusion of the bones of the hind foot.
It is important for parents to check their children for signs of excessively flat feet as they can often be painless. Besides visual inspection, parents should notice whether or not their child trips or falls a lot, struggles with basic movements, or complains of pain. If the arch has not developed by the age of 6, the child should be assessed by a podiatrist.
Based on the findings a combination of treatment options may be prescribed including: