The most common flatfoot deformity seen at Children’s Orthopaedics of Atlanta is the flexible flatfoot, which is a condition in which the arch disappears upon standing, but reappears upon sitting or when the child is on tiptoes. Although parents often worry that flatfeet will lead to a permanent disability, the fact is that many children with flexible flatfeet will eventually outgrow them—and for those children that do not outgrow them, most will never have any pain or problems with activities such as walking or sports.
In some children, usually during adolescence, there will be some aching pain in the bottom of the foot. It is recommended that a painful flatfoot be evaluated by a physician like the ones at COA. Treatment for a flexible flatfoot is required only when there is discomfort. Some common recommended treatment options include specific stretching exercises, special shoe inserts, physical therapy or casting. Rarely, surgical treatment is necessary to address persistent pain.
A less common form of flatfoot is the rigid flatfoot, in which the arch does not reappear upon sitting or on tiptoes. Several abnormalities in the joints of the hindfoot can lead to a rigid flatfoot, and an evaluation by a pediatric foot specialist is recommended.