What is a flexible flat foot:
The flexible flat foot is an extremely common condition which you can see in children. Here, there is a loss of normal longitudinal arch of foot upon standing but, the arch can be seen while walking on tiptoes or upon sitting with legs hanging off the floor, that is when the feet are not weight bearing.
Now, most cases of the flexible flat foot are a variant of normal and we can see a natural foot arch develop by the age of 6 years and above. The flexible flat feet can persist for longer in certain conditions such as obesity or if the condition is inherited, where we can usually elicit a positive family history or if it is a secondary to a tighten heel cord, which is the Achilles tendon.
Now, flat feet can rarely be rigid where it can pose a problem and this rigidity can occur due to
a problem with the foot bones, if there is neuromuscular disorder like cerebral palsy, polio etc. or if it is an inherited condition.
Now, in terms of symptoms, most of the kids with flat feet have no symptoms at all and it causes no problem. Some kids may be symptomatic and they may be present with foot pain, walk or run a bit awkwardly, they can have cramps in the leg, they can have leg exhaustion and they can show some hesitation to participate in athletic activity. These symptomatic kids need to be examined by a doctor and might need reference to an orthopedic.
Now, most flat feet are asymptomatic and require no further evaluation or treatment. The symptomatic flat feet need to be examined by a doctor. And any restriction at the ankle joint upon a clinical exam could mean that there is a tightened heel cord, which will require some stretching exercises and physical therapy. Customized foot inserts may be recommended to relieve foot strain. Ibuprofen or paracetamol may be used to relieve a bothersome foot pain. Most of the time even an x-ray is unwarranted. However, if your child is symptomatic even after conservative management or has a rigid flat foot then your orthopedic may recommend further investigations to look for any underlying causes.
Team Ovum Hospitals