Children’s flat feet: causes, prevention, treatment

Flat feet is a change in the anatomically correct proportions of the foot arch bones, which makes the biomechanics of walking improper. This disease makes a child feel uncomfortable while walking and changes the child’s gait. Flat feet are treated by a pediatric orthopedist.
Unfortunately, children suffer from flat feet very often. Among 50% of teenagers have flat feet. This is the most common orthopedic problem in pediatric practice. The main symptom of this disease is the flattening of the foot arch.
The foot has two arches: longitudinal and transverse, which are formed by bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Thanks to the arches, the amortization function is performed, the balance is maintained, the load is evenly distributed when walking, and the endurance to axial loading is increased.
There are 2 forms of flat feet: congenital and acquired. The congenital form is rare: there are only 5% of all flat feet cases, combined with other abnormalities in the the musculoskeletal system development. The acquired form is diagnosed no earlier than at 5-6 years. A newborn has flat feet and that’s ok. The foot arch starts to form at approximately 8 months when the baby gets up and tries to walk. The formation of the vaults ends by 5-6 years. If by this age the foot remains flat, then the knee and hip joints as well as the spine may become damaged, and the work of internal organs may be disrupted.
Researchers believe that the main cause of flat feet is a hereditary factor. If blood relatives have such a disease, then a child is likely to have flat feet as well. Among the determinants of this disease is connective tissue dysplasia or congenital connective tissue weakness.
The flat feet treatment includes many methods that complement each other. The main rule is to start treatment as early as possible. If the baby has a congenital form of flat feet, the therapy should begin from the first days of his life.
Nowadays orthopedists use the following treatments:
- physiotherapy exercises and therapeutic exercises;
- foot and lower leg massage;
- night orthoses - special orthopedic products, which are used for the treatment of babies’ flat feet since six months old;
- various types of physiotherapy
- orthopedic children's shoes