When flat feet hit the floor, physical therapy can often help
Trent Boeshart, LPTA
MedCentral Pediatric Therapy
Flat feet are common in children from birth to around the age of 3. This is the caused by a thick fat pad present at birth on the bottom of their feet at the arch. The fat pads typically begin to disappear and the arches develop when the child starts to stand and walk. This causes the weight of the child's body to be distributed down through the feet, making various muscles in the lower leg work to provide the ankles with a neutral foot position. As this happens, the arches begin to form and become more visible.
Arches should be visible regardless whether the child is standing. Though pain is usually not present at the arch itself, a flat-foot posture can be associated with pain at the ankles, knees or hips because the alignment of the joints is off. If your child feels pain in her ankles or arches, or if there is no arch present during non-weight bearing positions, then you might need to consult with her physician. Further treatment options may include physical therapy or the possibility of shoe orthotics or inserts.
Physical therapy can often assist with flat foot postures by providing exercises, positional activities or the possibility of shoe orthotics if requested by the child's physician. These activities and exercises address the foot position and the way the foot hits the floor when performing both standing and walking activities. A better foot position can lead to less pain in the legs, decrease the risk of orthopedic complications and improve the overall efficiency of your child's walking.