Imagine your child came home from school and mentioned to you that their feet were hurting and kept on complaining about it and even crying.
As parents it’s easy to think your child is experiencing growing pains and overlook this, however, most commonly with feet the main cause of pain is flat feet. We often hear of parents saying they feeling guilty because they didn’t act sooner. Its ok we get it, not everyone knows the importance of the feet and how they can impact upon our health. That is why we are trying to help.
What are Flat Feet?
Flat feet are basically just that. The arch of the foot is flat and does not appear to curve into the arch. You may notice this specifically when your child is standing barefoot. Do your children have a good arch?
If your child is under the age of three you have no reason to be alarmed. The arches won’t develop until after three years of age. In fact it has been reported that up to 44% of three to six year olds have flat feet.
Assuming your child is older than six and still showing signs of flat feet, it is important to know that flat feet are broken down into two parts, flexible and rigid. If your child has flexible flat feet their arch will fall upon weight bearing but will raise if they lift their big toe. Their shoes will also indicate signs of flat feet with certain parts of the soles wearing out quicker and this is a good sign that your child suffers from this condition. If they have ‘rigid’ flat foot again it is just that quite rigid and the soft tissues surrounding the joints may have contracted not allowing the natural movement within the joints of the feet and ankle to occur. This can stop the feet from functioning correctly causing pain.
The majority of flat feet are painless but when pain is present it is usually during weight-bearing activities such as walking and running. The pain can be in the sole of the foot, the ankle, or non-specific pain all around the foot area.
What Causes Flat Feet?
There are a variety of reasons why your child may have flat feet.
- Genetic factors, as flat feet can run in families.
- Weak muscles.
- Foot or ankle injury.
- Damage, dysfunction or rupture of the posterior tibial tendon.
Your child may complain that their feet hurt. Activities may cause them pain and premature fatigue. They may experience pain during resting hours and during bedtime, or they may generally shy away from athletic activities. Pain first thing on getting out of bed may also be a common complaint.
Assessment of the child’s feet and lower limbs is essential to help us diagnose the problem.
Just because the feet are flat doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to develop painful feet or foot related problems however, it does increase the risk. As the structure of the feet have changed from the ‘norm’ this means that the supporting soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves) are having to change how they work and may become weaker or overused as a result.
If you or your child is suffering from flat feet, Coastal Podiatry on the Sunshine Coast is here to help.
We are proud to be assisting Sunshine Coast families and their children in managing and eliminating their painful feet conditions, so they can get back to enjoying whatever it is they enjoy and also helping them move on in their life – pain free!
To find out more information or to book online please visit www.coastalpodiatry.com.au or you can call our friendly admin team on 5492 2944.