What Is Pediatric Flatfoot?
Flatfoot is common in both children and adults. When this deformity occurs in children, it is referred to as “pediatric flatfoot.” Although there are various forms of flatfoot, they all share one characteristic – partial or total collapse of the arch.
Pediatric flatfoot can be classified as symptomatic or asymptomatic. Symptomatic flatfeet exhibit symptoms such as pain in the foot, knee and even hips as well as limitation of activity. Symptomatic pediatric flatfoot can also result in a child not wanting to participate in sports, play with friends and frequently needing to sit. Asymptomatic flatfeet show no symptoms. These classifications can assist your doctor in determining an appropriate treatment plan.
Flatfoot can be apparent at birth or it may not show up until years later. Most children with flatfoot have no symptoms, but some have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain, tenderness, or cramping in the foot, leg, and knee
- Outward tilting of the heel
- Awkwardness or changes in walking
- Difficulty with shoes
- Reduced energy when participating in physical activities
- Voluntary withdrawal from physical activities
In diagnosing flatfoot, your doctor examines the foot and observes how it looks when the child stands and sits. They also observe how the child walks and will evaluate the range of motion of the foot. Because flatfoot is sometimes related to problems in the leg, your doctor may also examine the knee and hip.
X-rays are often taken to determine the severity of the deformity. Sometimes additional imaging and other tests are ordered.