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Learn about the methods of treating flatfoot in children

Flatfoot or flatfoot in children is defined as a condition in which the sole of the foot is flat and in contact with the ground completely, due to the lack of natural twisting of the arch of the foot, and this condition is normal in infants and children, as the percentage of children who have flat feet between the ages of three and six is 44%.

Muscles and tissues become stiffer and stronger as the child ages, and the curvature becomes more pronounced until age nine.

The child may experience pain in the soles of the foot, ankle, or general pain involving the whole foot, and the pain intensifies during walking or running, accompanied by a strain in the Achilles tendon.

In this article, we will address the causes of flatfoot formation, as well as methods of treating flatfoot in children, and their surgical and non-surgical types.

What are the causes of flat feet ?

The condition of flat feet arises if the curvature of the foot does not form with age, and it may not pose a big problem if it does not cause pain or mobility disability, as well as if it does not require therapeutic intervention, or it is possible to live with it normally, but if the flatfoot condition causes pain or motor deficit, it is necessary to resort to therapeutic methods to reduce pain.

The final shape and anatomical structure of the foot is determined by the muscles, ligaments, bones, and muscles that make it up, and any imbalance in their alignment together causes the foot to not curve normally and the flat foot to form.

An anatomical abnormality can lead to flatfoot symptoms, such as bones fusing together, damage to muscles or tendons, turning the lower legs outward or inward, or knock-knee condition.

Obesity may lead to the appearance of flat foot symptoms, as excess weight negatively affects the feet and forms a burden on them.

Methods of treating flatfoot in children

As mentioned, the condition of flat feet often does not need treatment, as long as it does not lead to health problems or pain in the child, but if it leads to pain, the initial causes must be treated first if any, such as obesity, wearing uncomfortable shoes, or suffering from excessive flexibility in the joints.

The doctor resorts to diagnosing the condition of the flat foot in the child by making a visual examination of his foot, by observing how it looks from the front and back, and may ask him to stand on his fingers or walk, and if the pain is severe, the doctor may resort to one of the following diagnostic methods :

  • X-rays, to diagnose the condition of bones and joints.
  • CT scans are similar to that of X-rays, but the image is clearer.
  • Ultrasound, if the doctor expects a tendon injury.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to show a clearer picture of hard and soft tissues.

Methods of treating flatfoot in children include surgical and non-surgical methods :

Non-surgical treatment

The doctor may prescribe non-surgical treatment or sports practices if the child suffers from pain that hinders normal physical activity, such as :

  • Arch Booster : the doctor may prescribe a foot arch support, which is a tool that can be used with the shoe to support the arch of the foot and relieve pain during motor performance, and can be purchased or designed specifically to fit the child’s foot.
  • Supportive shoe : you can wear medical shoes that support the arch of the foot, to relieve flatfoot pain, and it is advised not to wear sandals or non-medical hard shoes, as these types may aggravate the pain.


Heel extension exercise
The child stands against a wall with both hands while keeping his arms straight, bending one leg forward while keeping the other leg tight back.

The child presses both heels to the floor while keeping the back straight, then pushes himself forward, holding this position for 30 seconds, and repeating it four times for both legs.

Golf ball practice
The child sits on a chair, rolls a golf or tennis ball with the sole of his foot, focusing on the bottom of the arch of the foot for two to three minutes, and repeats the exercise with the other foot.

Arch lift exercise
This exercise may help strengthen the muscles responsible for the formation of the arch of the foot and then is one of the methods of treating flatfoot in children, and it is done by making the child stand straight, then raise the inner part of the foot, and load his weight on the outside of it, while keeping the fingers fixed on the ground throughout the exercise, this exercise is repeated 10-15 times in two or three sets.

Leg muscle lift exercise
This exercise can be done to strengthen the calf muscles, by standing and lifting the heels as much as possible for 5 seconds, and repeating the command 10-20 times in two or three sets.

Leg muscle lift exercise
This exercise can be done to strengthen the calf muscles, by standing and lifting the heels as much as possible for 5 seconds, and repeating the command 10-20 times in two or three sets.

Read more: The importance of sports for children


A physiotherapist can be used as a method of treating flatfoot in children, to help improve the position of walking or running with flat feet, and relieve their pain.

It is necessary to maintain some rest so that the pain does not worsen, and it is possible to avoid motor performances that cause this, such as running and jumping, and practicing other types of sports such as: swimming, walking, and cycling.

Use of medications

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to relieve pain that may affect children.


loss If the child suffers from obesity, it is recommended to lose weight, as this plays a role in reducing heaviness and pain on his feet.

Surgical treatment
Surgical intervention is one of the methods of treating flatfoot in children in some cases, in which the flat foot is accompanied by injury or tendon rupture, or the presence of excess bones, and this can be diagnosed using X-rays.

The type of surgical intervention varies depending on several elements:

The cause of flat feet.
Anatomical structure of the ankle and foot.
Symptoms experienced by the child.
Flatfoot surgeries are a permanent solution to the problem, and usually after recovering from surgery, there is usually no need for treatment or extended follow-up, but the operation needs a long rest after which it may reach a month or a month and a half, followed by physiotherapy sessions.

There is no standard surgical procedure for all cases, but it varies according to the nature of each case, and the surgical procedure may include:

Tendon Transfers by moving it from one bone to another to reduce deformity.
Osteotomy, a surgical procedure may involve cutting some parts of the bone or moving them to other places.
Joint fusion (Fusion) The doctor may resort to combining some joints by fixing them, in order to reduce deformity and pain.

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