Does Your Child Have Flat Feet? Physio Techniques for Pediatric Pes Planus

A baby’s foot doesn’t have an arch. Instead, he or she has a cute pad of fat on the bottom of their foot. Somewhere between the ages of three and six, that fat disappears and your child is supposed to develop an arch. However, some children don’t. They have flat feet, otherwise called pes planus.

Why Do Some Children Have Flat Feet?

This is usually a case of arrested development. Perhaps tight calf muscles, hypermobility, or another musculoskeletal problem has interfered with arch development. Thankfully, the arch will eventually form in most children. However, until the arch develops, flat feet can cause many long-term problems so it’s best to intervene with flat feet as soon as possible.

Those with flat feet don’t have enough support on the inside of their foot, leading the outside of their foot to drop down. This bends their ankle and stresses every joint from ankle to hip. Without intervention, the ankles will seem to curve outward, and as the child grows that imbalance will cement, leading to limping, clumsiness, and pain in the ankles, knees and hips.

Older children may need pain management strategies if their pes planus persists. Young children may have difficulty even learning to walk if they have flat feet.

Treatments for Children with Flat Feet

Having your child wear shoes with special insoles is the first step in treating pediatric pes planus. The shoe and sole force the foot to arch and help strengthen the leg. The shoes may also provide ankle support that gives your child much-needed stability.

The second treatment for flat feet is a variety of physiotherapy stretching exercises that will encourage the feet muscles to develop an arch.

The types of physio your child can complete will depend on age and their ability to walk and balance. Plus, you’ll want advice from a registered physiotherapist about which stretches are best for your child. While some children are limited by tight calf muscles, others might be limited by the Achilles tendon, a joint problem, or other muscle weakness. It’s best to target your child’s specific situation to see the best results.

After we show your child how to safely perform these stretches, it may benefit them to regularly complete them with you at home. You can also help your child by introducing them to different surfaces to walk on. Schedule a regular beach day so that your child can walk through sand and water. Bring them to parks and sports fields with grass and slopes so they can walk both up and downhill on grass. These varied surfaces will help encourage the muscles in the legs and feet to develop an arch.

Physiotherapy for Children with Flat Feet from Meadowlands

At Meadowlands, our registered physiotherapists are experienced with the exercises that can help your child with flat feet. Plus, we love seeing children succeed in overcoming their obstacles! Contact us today to discuss the best treatment plan for your child.