Muscles and bones that form the foot have curves. The lack of the most important curve, the longitudinal curve inside the foot is called flatfoot. Also called flexible flatfoot, this condition is considered normal and monitored until five years of age, provided there are no other underlying anomalies. This outlook of the foot continues until the child’s feet forms and ligaments are strengthened. The foot curve is observed when such children tiptoe or sit by a bed and dangle their feet.
When the child reaches ages four or five and ligaments and the muscles that provide the foot balance get stronger, the curve appears and foot takes normal shape.
In some children the curve may never appear, flexibility continues but they may never face any problems in their daily lives and may even continue to become professional athletes. These children may feel pains at the back and front of the shin bone as their height and weight increase. Since this is a mild pain, use of insoles ends this problem.
Some other children have the view of flatfoot and they really have a congenital problem in the relation of the foot bones. Apart from the general overview of their feet, curve is not seen when these children tiptoe or dangle their feet while sitting and pain can be seen as well. In such cases, x-rays shall be taken, considering other possible underlying bone problems. Therefore, parents shall consult orthopaedic specialists when they observe any condition in their child’s feet but shall also know that that most of the time there’s no need to worry.
Relation of Flatfoot and Shoes and Selecting Correct Shoes
Children do not need to wear shoes at home when they start walking. When doctor is consulted with flatfoot view and flexible flatfoot is found, child shall visit the doctor once or twice a year to monitor walk. If there’s no other reason for the flatfoot, child does not have to wear shoes at home.
Another issue that shall be known is that the shoe does not shape the feet of children. Shoes shall be considered as cast. If the problem can resolve in time, it will happen regardless of whether she wears shoes. On the other hand, regardless of flatfoot, shoes shall be selected carefully. Heel of the shoe shall be hard because since the child just begun walking, heel shall be firmly on the ground. Heel slipping sideways over the heel of the shoe is undesirable.
Insole of the shoe shall have a raise that supports the inner curve of the foot. Another important aspect is that the whole base of the shoe shall not be soft. This is not recommended. The part that corresponds to the metatarsus being flexible and other parts not being flexible is an important criterion.
Custom made shoes shall not be used unless the doctor deems it necessary. Flatfooted children generally have accompanying familial ligament flexibility condition. These children can turn their wrists over ninety degrees, bend their fingers backwards extremely high and their knees can move back too much while standing, without pain. This group has high probability of having flatfoot. They can continue their normal life without problem as they grow.
When the child grows into adulthood, secondary changes may take place depending on increased weight and extended standing. Some portions of the muscles in the feet can develop deficiency. First finding is the pain on the inside of the foot. This condition resembles adult flatfoot. Examinations may find deficiency in one of the tendons or calcification in bones; harder insoles, cast treatment and in advanced cases bone or tendon operations can become necessary. However, such people are recommended to lose weight initially.
Bone related problems and solution proposals
In some cases underlying bone related anomaly can be found in children brought with flatfoot complaint. This is generally a simple bone anomaly. A bone spur can be detected in the middle interior of the child’s foot. This is a birth variation. Another bone structure can occur on an already normal bone spur. Numerous extra bones can be seen in foot anatomy and these are normal. That bone is one of them. But since the foot steps inwards, the bone on the interior can be more visible and this causes problems such as pinching or rashes. These children are recommended to use insoles even if they do not have pains.
If rashes increase with age, this bone needs to be removed with a simple operation. In a more serious condition, bone sequence can have problems. When detected these are remedied with cast treatment or various operations.
Contents of the page are for information purposes only, you must consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.