What exactly are "flexible flat feet"? And if a child has them, what should be done? Shevaun M. Doyle, M.D., pediatric orthopedist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, has the answers.
"When standing, children with flexible flat feet do not have arches along the inner borders of their feet. However, when they stand up on tip toe or sit down with their feet dangling off the examining table, they reconstitute well formed arches," explains Dr. Doyle.
As for treatment, pediatric orthopedists generally do not recommend any for the condition. "Most flexible flat feet are painless, do not impede a child's athletic ability or normal growth pattern, and do not cause long term deformity or disability. A majority of infants with flat feet will develop arches, even when standing, by five years old; this is due to tightening of the soft tissue structures in the feet that occurs with weight bearing activities and walking," said Dr. Doyle. "Special shoes, orthotics or foot pads are not necessary in most cases."