Normally, flat feet disappear by the age of six as the feet become less flexible and the arches develop. Only about 1 or 2 out of every 10 children will continue to have flat feet into adulthood.
For children who do not develop an arch, treatment is not recommended unless the foot is stiff or painful. Shoe inserts won’t help your child develop an arch, and may cause more problems than the flat feet themselves.
However, certain types of flat feet may need to be treated differently. For example, a child may have tightness of the Achilles tendon or calf muscle that can limit the motion of their ankle. This tightness can result in a flat foot, but it usually can be treated with special stretching exercises to lengthen the muscle and tendon.
Rarely, a child will have truly rigid flat feet, a condition that can cause problems. These children have difficulty moving the foot up and down or side to side at the ankle. The rigid foot can cause pain and, if left untreated, can lead to arthritis. This rigid type of flat foot is seldom seen in an infant or very young child. More often, rigid flat feet develop during the teenage years should be evaluated by your child’s GP, a podiatrist or physiotherapist.
Symptoms that should be checked by a medical professional include foot pain, sores or pressure areas on the inner side of the foot, a stiff foot, limited side-to-side foot motion, or limited up-and-down ankle motion.
Click here for more information on flat feet in children for parents and carers.
Yes! Plantar fasciitis is a common foot complaint where you may have heel pain that can extend into the arch of the foot. It is often most painful when you first get out of bed in the morning or when you get up from a chair after sitting.
Treatment normally consists of calf stretching exercises, massage into the base of the foot, footwear modification and gel or soft heel cushions that can be inserted into shoes.
Wearing well cushioned footwear indoors and avoiding walking in bare feet can also help.
Please read the section on Plantar Fasciitis and check out the links for information and exercises that can help.
It is a degenerative, inflammatory problem that can cause episodic pain and swelling in a joint or joints and can sometimes cause bone enlargement.
As we get older, osteoarthritis can be linked to changes in the shape of feet, which may cause pain. It is more common in people 40 years old and above, if you are overweight or obese, if you have had a previous foot or ankle injury or previous surgery in that area. It can also be genetic.
If you have pain associated with osteoarthritis in the feet the treatment and management is often around footwear advice, activity modification, strengthening any weak muscles and stretching any tight muscles.
Please see Self Help section for further information and exercises to try.
Bunions are very common and are not always a cause of pain.
They are bony lumps that develop on the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe and may affect one or both feet. Sometimes as the bunions develop, the big toes may be pushed over towards the smaller toes.
If there is pain at the base of the big toe then the advice is often around modifying your footwear for comfort, pacing your activities and ensuring there is no rubbing or skin irritation.
Please see the Bunion section for further information.
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