Friday, January 10, 2014

What you need to know about your kids flatfeet?

Pediatric (child) flatfeet can be seen at an early age and progressively affect growth, posture, and activity level if left neglected.  Literature and studies have shown that flatfeet in children are progressive and can cause debilitating effects if left, untreated.

Here are 5 must-know facts about children's flatfeet:
  1. Genetics are the primary cause - although, there are different etiologies that can result in flatfeet the number one source is typically genetics
  2. Foot orthotics are important - The function of those devices is to re-align the foot position and thus better align the other lower extremity joints (knees, hips) and overall posture
  3. "Growing pains" is a myth - Very often, do we hear of this term but in reality if your child is suffering from persistent pain to the foot/ankle with notable "limps" and decrease in activity levels, then they need to be examined more carefully.
  4. Physical therapy is paramount in treatment - the role of therapy is to stretch the tight calf muscles and strengthen the weaker tendons/muscles, which are affected by the flatfoot deformity.
  5. Surgery can help! - Surgery on the pediatric population has shown very good to excellent results in a variety of scientific studies and literature.  The results are predictable and kids have a better long-term function which can avoid them from having debilitating arthritis, knee/hip pain as they get older.
Pre-operative clinical photograph of a child's feet before undergoing flatfoot surgery
Postoperative photograph of the same patient 4 months after surgery.  Note improvement in foot and leg position on the right.
If you have any questions about pediatric flatfeet, their treatment, and surgeries then please consult with your foot and ankle specialist.

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