As a parent you're always making sure your child is healthy and safe. From the time they're born throughout elementary school you make sure to take them for regular check-ups, get them the vaccinations they need, and provide car seats, bike helmets, and other safety gear as they venture out into the world.
Along the way you may have brought them to a podiatrist if they had pain in their toes due to an ingrown toenail or perhaps they had strange bumps on the bottom of their feet that turned out to be warts.
You may also have noticed more subtle issues with the way your child walks that don't seem quite right but you thought they'd grow out of. While there are some things that will resolve as your child gets older this isn't always the case.
One of the conditions that kids won't outgrow is developmental flat foot or flexible flat foot. While flat feet in toddlers are normal, if they remain flat past the age of five it's important to have their feet evaluated by a pediatric podiatrist. Why is that so important?
Here are five reasons flat feet can be problematic for your child now and in the future.
Kids with Flat Feet Can Have Trouble Keeping Up with Their Peers
When your kid has flat feet their foot biomechanics are out of balance. This can make it difficult for them to walk, run, and keep up with other children their age. At a time when children are learning how to play and socialize foot problems can hold them back if they can't keep up with their peers.
Kids with Flat Feet May Trip and Fall More Easily
Your child may want to keep up with others but their flat feet can make this difficult as they will likely have more problems with coordination. An unbalanced gait can cause them to trip and fall more easily.
Kids with Flat Feet May Withdraw from Sports Activities
Because your child may have problems running or keeping up with others, they are more likely to withdraw from sport activities that they would otherwise love to be part of.
Flat Feet Can Lead to Future Foot Problems
Flat feet in your child can lead to future foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and hammertoes. Very likely if your child has flat feet you do too since flat feet are inherited. If you've experienced any of these foot problems you understand why prevention is so important.
Flat Feet Can Cause Future Musculoskeletal Issues
You may also have experienced musculoskeletal issues such as low back, knee, and hip pain if you have flat feet. Your child will likely experience them also.
So what can you do to help your kids?
Don't ignore the warning signs of flat feet. Bring your kids to a pediatric podiatrist to be evaluated as soon as possible.
What your podiatrist can do
A pediatric podiatrist will evaluate your child's feet and the way they walk to determine if they'll benefit from kids orthotics. At our office we provide specially designed kids orthotics called Little Steps for younger children. These orthotics are very affordable and will correct their foot imbalances, normalize their gait, and allow them to move like other kids. If needed, older children will be fit with custom orthotics. For more information check out the video I've made about these orthotics.
If you've noticed any of these problems in your child, make an appointment today at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City by calling us at 206-368-7000. When necessary we treat your child to prevent them from developing foot problems and physical problems in the future.
We can often appoint the same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.
For more information about foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".
In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly. You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.