What to Do About Painful Flat Feet in Kids

Little girl with painful feet

Just because something isn’t working quite as “intended” doesn’t mean it necessarily needs fixing; for all practical purposes it may work just as well either way. The same is often true for kids with flexible flat feet—if there’s no pain or discomfort, we often choose a “wait and see” approach over formal treatment.

However, if a child’s flat feet is causing him or her pain—or you notice some telltale signs of foot discomfort, such as limping, low energy, withdrawal from activity, or frequent requests to be carried—it’s time to take action.

Our first choice is always to pursue, and exhaust, conservative treatment options before surgery is ever considered. Fortunately, such methods are often effective at reducing pain and improving foot function. We may recommend some or all of the following, depending on the individual case:

  • Physical therapy, exercises, and stretches for feet and toes that can help strengthen supporting muscles and relax cramped or strained tissues.
  • A change in style of footwear—certain shoe types, shapes, and materials may provide better support and accommodation for flat feet than other types.
  • Orthotic devices, such over-the-counter inserts or fully customized pieces, can help provide better cushioning, support, or restrict excess foot roll as needed to restore a healthy gait.

Rarely, surgery may be considered if conservative tactics are ineffective, or if there are other foot issues (such as tarsal coalition) that need to be addressed. Whether or not your child is a good candidate for surgery, and what type of procedure should be selected, is determined on a case-by-case basis and will depend on both the severity of the condition and the age of your child.

One thing is sure—when you take your son or daughter to see Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute, they are sure to receive gentle, compassionate care that is tailored specifically to fit their needs. To set up an appointment in Round Rock or Cedar Park, TX, contact us online or give us a call at 512-593-2949.

Posted on October 20, 2015 and filed under Children's Feet.