Flatfoot is a common condition that affects both children and adults, but when it occurs in children it is called “pediatric flatfoot”. This condition is characterized by partial or total collapse of the arch of the foot.
There are two types of pediatric flatfoot: symptomatic and asymptomatic. Asymptomatic flatfeet do not show any symptoms, while symptomatic flatfeet exhibit pain and limitation of activity. The classification of flatfoot is important in determining the appropriate treatment plan.
Symptoms of pediatric flatfoot include pain, tenderness, and cramping in the foot, leg, and knee. Outward tilting of the heel, awkwardness or changes in walking, difficulty with shoes, reduced energy during physical activities, and voluntary withdrawal from physical activities are also common symptoms.
Diagnosis of pediatric flatfoot involves an examination of the foot and ankle, observing how the child stands and sits, how they walk, and the range of motion of the foot. X-rays are often taken to determine the severity of the deformity, and sometimes additional imaging and other tests are ordered.
Non-surgical treatment is often the first approach for asymptomatic cases of pediatric flatfoot, where the condition will be observed and re-evaluated periodically by a foot and ankle surgeon. Custom orthotic devices may also be considered for such cases. However, if the child exhibits symptoms, treatment is required. The foot and ankle surgeon may choose one or more non-surgical approaches such as activity modifications, custom orthotic devices, physical therapy, medications, or shoe modifications.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the symptoms and improve foot function. The surgical procedure selected for the child will depend on the type of flatfoot and the degree of deformity.
If your child exhibits symptoms of pediatric flatfoot, it is important to seek medical attention from a podiatrist, a medical doctor who specializes in treating conditions of the foot and ankle. Dr Gilbert Huang DPM is a foot and ankle surgeon who is experienced in treating pediatric flatfoot. He can provide a proper diagnosis and guide you through the appropriate treatment options for your child.
In conclusion, pediatric flatfoot is a common condition that affects children. While asymptomatic cases may not require treatment, symptomatic cases require medical attention. Non-surgical treatment options such as activity modifications, custom orthotic devices, physical therapy, medications, and shoe modifications can improve symptoms. Surgery may be necessary in some cases to improve foot function. It is important to consult with a podiatrist such as Dr Gilbert Huang DPM if your child exhibits symptoms of pediatric flatfoot.