One common foot problems seen by podiatrists in children is flatfoot. This condition is characterized by the under development or non-development of the foot arch. Almost all babies are born with flat feet but outgrow this condition.
What are the different types of flatfoot?
There are three different types of flatfoot. The first is called a flexible flatfoot in which the foot is flexible or hypermobile. However, this does not cause any pain or a source of disability in children. The next type is a flexible flatfoot with a short Achilles tendon. This condition is very rare and can cause pain and disability. The last type is called a rigid flatfoot and the rarest among the three types.
Only a podiatrist could properly identify if your child is suffering from a flatfoot condition. The doctors at Foot and Ankle Centers of North Houston are podiatrists who specialize in helping children with foot conditions.
Flatfoot could further be classified into symptomatic and asymptomatic. Those suffering from symptomatic flatfoot exhibit symptoms such as pain, outward tilting of the heel, awkwardness in walking, difficulty in wearing shoes, and foot pain during physical activities. The latter, asymptomatic as its name implies does not show any symptoms and could only be diagnosed by a podiatrist.
Proper classification enables the podiatrist to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Children that exhibit symptoms require treatment such as shoe modifications, orthotic devices, medications and physical therapy. The podiatrist may select from one of the said non-surgical approaches. If the degree of deformity of the condition is severe, surgery may be needed to relieve the symptoms and improve foot function.
Children that do not exhibit any symptoms does not require any treatment. But the podiatrist will check, observe and re-evaluate the child’s condition periodically. However, custom orthotic devices can be considered for some cases of asymptomatic flatfoot.
How to diagnose flatfoot in children?
In the diagnosis of flatfoot, the podiatrist examines and observes the foot when the child stands, sits, and walks. Sometimes the podiatrist also examines the knee, hip, and leg because it can also be associated with flatfoot. Radiological tests are also done to know the severity of the deformity.
At Foot and Ankle Centers of North Houston with six offices located in North Houston, TX, we specialize in helping children with developmental foot problems. To schedule an appointment, call 281-444-4114.