Childrens Foot Care

What Is Pediatric Flatfoot?

Flatfoot is a condition commonly found in children and adults. Pediatric flatfoot refers to the deformity in children. Symptoms of flatfoot may vary from one patient to another, but in all cases, there is partial or total collapse of the arch on the inside of the foot.

There are two classifications of pediatric flatfoot - symptomatic or asymptomatic. When symptomatic, flatfeet may be accompanied by pain, limitation of activity or other symptoms. Asymptomatic flatfeet are not accompanied by any symptoms. These distinctions will assist Dr. Radovic in assessing a treatment plan.

Flatfeet are commonly found at infancy or years later in adulthood. Children normally do not exhibit symptoms. Symptomatic children, however, may experience one or more of the following:

  • Pain, tenderness or cramping in the foot, calf and knee.
  • Outward tilting of the heel.
  • Walking clumsily or on the outer edges of the feet.
  • Discomfort from certain types of shoes.
  • Reduced endurance during physical activities.
  • Voluntary withdrawal from physical activities.

When diagnosing pediatric flatfoot, Dr. Radovic examines the foot and observes changes in appearance of the foot between sitting and standing. Furthermore, Dr. Radovic will evaluate walking patterns and range of motion in each foot. Since flatfoot sometimes affects the leg, Dr. Radovic may also assess the calf, knee and hip.

Most often, treatment is not required for children who are asymptomatic. Dr. Radovic will instead periodically observe and re-evaluate walking patterns and range of motion. Sometimes, custom orthotic devices may be recommended even if symptoms are not present.

Treatment is required for children with symptoms. One or more of these non-surgical approaches may be selected by Dr. Radovic:

  • Activity modifications. Temporarily reduce physical activities that cause pain. Avoid standing or walking for long periods of time.
  • Orthotic devices. Dr. Radovic may cast the child for custom orthotic devices to be worn inside the shoe to support foot structure; and improve walking and endurance.
  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist, or Dr. Radovic, can demonstrate stretching exercises for relief from pain and discomfort.
  • Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as asprin can reduce pain and inflammation in some cases of flatfoot.
  • Shoe modifications. Dr. Radovic will identify the proper footwear necessary for support and improvement of flatfoot.

Surgery is needed when patients have exhausted alternative treatments for symptom relief and improved foot function. The type of flatfoot and degree of deformity will determine the surgical procedure or procedures your child will undergo. 

To learn about Pediatric Flatfoot Surgery

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