Flat Feet description

Many children have flat feet and in fact all children have a flat foot until the age of approximately 4 years when the arch of the foot starts to develop.  A few will have an arch earlier but many of those feet are not normal.  If the arch has not appeared before the age of 10 years then it will not do so and the foot will always be flat.

A flat foot is not a problem unless it is painful or stiff.  Many high class athletes have flatfeet and have no problems with them. If aching or pain occurs then it may be helped with supportive foot wear or insoles (called orthotics). There are a number of conditions that cause pain and stiffness and these may need surgery to stop the pain and improve the shape of the foot.

Flat feet that cause problems often occur in children who have other conditions such as cerebral palsy and neuromuscular conditions. These are more likely to require surgery to help them but non-operative management should always be tried first.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATypical flat feet seen in childhood considered normal until about 5yrs old





By ten years old if the arch has not developed then it will not do so. If the feet are symptomatic then orthotics will be needed to help improve the pain or aching but if no symptoms are present no treatment is required at all. The use of orthotics will not change the foot shape in the long term. The standard surgery performed for a symptomatic foot with low or flat longitudinal arch is called a ‘lateral column lengthening’. Click the link for further detailed information.

Severe flat foot in a 10 year old

Severe flat foot in a 10 year old