Your children are probably the most important thing in your life.  Once grown up, some parents will boast that their kids are their greatest accomplishment.  Whether they become an astronaut, an incredible wife/husband/parent or just a great person and friend to those they meet.  You never want them to have to compromise.  Well, in one area, problems can develop early on and greatly impact the rest of their lives in terms of their health - including their social well-being and even their confidence.  But we are foot doctors, right?  How could your children's feet have anything to do with their social lives or their confidence?

When born, babies have a flattened appearance of their foot due to the presence of a fat pad that lies in the arch to provide nutrients to their growing feet.  Typically by the age of 2, this fat pad should be gone and your child's foot should have an arch.  In instances where children's feet continue to appear flat beyond this age, there is a high likelihood that they will have flat feet for life.  The effects of poor foot structure and flat feet goes beyond having a flat foot that looks different.  Flat feet affect the effectiveness of the muscles around the ankles and within the feet and cause increased fatigue of these muscles.  Many little kids won't come out at tell you at age 3 or 4 that their feet hurt or that their feet are tired.  Rather, you may notice that the child always wants to be held or carried. 

As the years pass, if this condition continues to go untreated, children are not as good at running or in sport and may become recluse due to a lack of confidence in sport and activity.  Their confidence may even suffer, as the posture they hold has more impact on how they feel than their confidence has the ability to impact their posture.  It is more difficult for a person to stand confidently if they are used to having fatigue and pain in their feet.

Finally, as adults, deformities can creep up causing more pain and more need for intervention.  The chronic muscle imbalances caused by flatfeet leads to bunions, arthritis, tendinitis, ankle pain, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes and even increased swelling in the legs (as the calf muscle doesn't contract as effectively to pump excess fluid back to the heart). 

This is all preventable though!  Look at your own feet and your spouse's.  If you have suffered from foot problems or notice that you or your spouse have flat feet, your children will likely follow suit -- that is unless you address this early!  If you are concerned about your child's flat feet, make an appointment today for an evaluation.  We have simple tools to get your child on the right track to a healthy and foot pain-free life!