As parents, you’re constantly vigilant about your child’s health and well-being, especially when it comes to their physical development. While it’s natural to worry, understanding what pediatric flatfeet are and how they can be managed is crucial for providing the best care for your child’s feet. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the details of pediatric flatfeet, including what causes them, how they can impact your child, and what treatment options are available.

What are Pediatric Flatfeet?

Pediatric flatfeet, also known as pes planus or fallen arches, occur when the arches of the feet appear flattened, causing the entire sole of the foot to make contact with the ground. This condition often develops as the muscles and tendons in the feet continue to develop, and it can be considered normal in a child less than 6 years of age. As a child continues to grow, we expect to see improvement

Causes of Pediatric Flatfeet:

Pediatric flatfeet can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

1. Genetics: Children inherit flatfeet from their parents. This is the leading cause of pediatric flatfoot and there can be correlation made between a child’s foot and the foot of one or both of their parents.

2. Loose ligaments: Some children have naturally loose ligaments, which can contribute to flatfeet. This is also an inherited, genetic condition.

3. Muscle weakness: Weakness in the muscles hips, legs, and/or the feet and ankles can lead to flatfeet. When evaluating a child for flatfoot, its important to consider the entire lower kinetic chain to rule out congenital hip conditions that can contribute to the development of a pediatric flatfoot.

4. Obesity: Excess weight can put additional pressure on the feet, leading to flatfeet.

Impact on Children:

While pediatric flatfeet are often painless, they can lead to discomfort or pain, particularly during or after physical activity. Children with flatfeet may also experience:

    • Fatigue or cramping in the feet and legs during activity

    • “Growing pains” or pain after activity, often at night

    • Difficulty participating in sports or physical activities

    • Decreased coordination

    • An inability to keep up with their peers during times of activity

    • Frequent stumbles or falls

    • Changes in gait or walking patterns

    • Difficulty finding shoes due to feeling of discomfort while wearing them

Treatment Options:

Many parents are told that their child will “outgrow” their flatfoot condition. While this can be true, as a pediatric flatfoot may be considered normal up until age 6, many children do not “outgrow” the condition. Over time, a pediatric flatfoot can lead to the development of other conditions that may cause pain in the knees, hips, or low back. if your child is experiencing pain or discomfort, or if their flatfeet are affecting their ability to participate in activities, there are several treatment options available:

1. Supportive footwear: Providing your child with supportive shoes can help alleviate discomfort and provide additional support for their feet. The feet are the foundation for the rest of the body, and this is important to treating the flatfoot, and preventing the progression of symptoms.

2. Orthotic devices: Custom-made orthotic inserts can help support the arches of the feet and improve foot alignment. An orthotic is intended to control the motion of the foot and can quickly improve symptoms in a pediatric patient.

3. Physical therapy: Certain exercises and stretches can help strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility in the feet and ankles. A night splint may also be recommended to address tightness in the calf muscles.

4. Monitoring: Regular check-ups with a podiatrist can help monitor your child’s foot development and ensure that any issues are addressed promptly. We recommend a check up at least every 6 months.


Pediatric flatfeet are a common condition among children and, in most cases, do not require treatment. However, it’s important for parents to be aware of the potential impact of flatfeet on their child’s comfort and mobility. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for pediatric flatfeet, parents can take proactive steps to ensure their child’s foot health and well-being. If you have any concerns about your child’s feet, don’t hesitate to consult with a qualified podiatrist for personalized advice and care.

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