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Flatfoot in a child can be asymptomatic or upsetting daily functioning. Is there a way? What works and what is ineffective? And when to really worry, and when flat feet is physiology?
When is flatfoot in a child a physiological symptom?
Parents often worry about flat feet, but you have to realize that up to 4-5 years old physiological flat feet occur, which should be observed without intervening. The first orthopedic insoles can be used only after 4 years of age, before that the foot should be allowed to develop on its own.
However, if your child is 5 years old and still has flat feet, you should see a doctor. Signals motivating for faster visit are: pain in the feet, knee joints, frequent walking on toes, frequent tripping over one's own legs, back pain, discomfort when walking, walking with feet inward, X-shaped knees, asymmetries in the positioning of the feet.
Flat foot in a child: symptoms
Flat foot in a child is fairly simple to find. In children, they rarely cause unpleasant symptoms, these can only occur later in adulthood, if the flat feet do not pass. Most often it is stated:
- partial or complete bend of the arch,
- tilting your heels out
- awkwardness in walking
- reduced energy
- pain and tenderness in the legs
- cramps in your calves
- uneven abrasion of shoe soles.
Flat feet in a child - types
Flatfoot in a child can have a different course:
- elastic flat feet, overly mobile - the change is not painful, does not lead to disability and does not require treatment. Observation is needed,
- elastic flat feet with short Achilles tendon - very rare in children, affects both feet, can cause pain and make walking difficult,
- stiff flat feet - the least common, most often it appears in people who have a problem with the bones in the legs. about a quarter of people with this defect experience pain and measure foot disability.
How to recognize flat feet?
The parent may assume that the child has flat feet, but it is the orthopedist who specializes in posture defects that diagnoses the problem. An experienced person assesses the position of the foot when the child is standing and sitting. It also evaluates the work of the foot while walking, and in some situations can also examine the knee or hip. When the distortions are large, an X-ray may be ordered.
Treatment: flat feet in a child
If the child has no pain symptoms, usually a specialist recommends foot watching and walking style. To date, there is no clear evidence that so-called corrective gymnastics is effective (it certainly won't hurt).
Sometimes after seeing a child, the doctor recommends using special insoles. One thing to remember is that the insoles will not match every type of footwear - e.g. classic sandals, which somewhat limits their effectiveness.
Otherwise insoles reduce the size of footwear, therefore, when a child wears them, it is necessary to choose larger shoes. And a very important note - first choose the insoles, and then the shoes, not the other way around.
If a child's flat feet cause pain, the surgeon's recommendations must be followed. Usually a specialist recommends:
- temporary limitation of activity - especially standing and walking,
- the use of special orthoses, usually inside the shoe, which put the foot in the correct position,
- medicines - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,
- physical therapy - special foot exercises performed under the supervision of a specialist, especially focusing on stretching the Achilles tendon,
- in rare situations, surgery is necessary.
Disregarding foot defects can have a negative impact on the development of the entire motor apparatus.