Many infants and toddlers have flat feet, and they simply grow out of them. However, that doesn't happen in every case. If your child has flat feet past his or her toddlerhood, you may need to wait a bit longer to let your child grow out of it, or you can take him or her to the podiatrist.
Here are four signs it's time to seek help with your child's flat feet:
1. Your child has a rigid flat foot
Kids who are likely to grow out of their flat feet have "flexible" flat feet while those who are likely to struggle with the issue for years typically have "rigid" flat feet. To figure out what category your child is in, have him or her stand on his or her tiptoes. Then, have him or her sit on a chair and dangle his or her feet toward the ground.
If your child has "flexible" flat feet, you will see a small arch appear in the foot when your child stands on tiptoe or dangles his or her foot. If an arch doesn't appear during these "tests", your child has "rigid" flat feet, and you should make an appointment with a podiatrist at a place like Walk Without Pain.
2. Your child experiences pain
If your child complains frequently of foot pain, that is another sign that you need to take his or her flat feet seriously. Typically, kids with seriously flat feet experience pain in one area of their feet rather than a general ache or pain.
In addition to foot pain, your child may also complain of pain in his or her achilles tendon, shins or calf muscles.
3. Your child shies away from exercise
In many cases, the issues your child experiences with his or her feet may make him or her reluctant to exercise. Is your child sitting down before other kids? Does he or she seem to have less energy than his or her peers? Unfortunately, that may be a result of his or her flat feet -- in fact, that is one of the reasons flat feet is tied to obesity.
4. Your child's ankle joints aren't that mobile
If a child has rigid flat feet, it puts a lot of pressure on the surrounding muscles and tendons. It can also hurt the ankle joint and immobilise it. Ask your child to move his or her feet up and down and around in circles. If they cannot, that lack of mobility is a sign of trouble.