What are flat feet, and is there cause for concern?

When parents see that their children may have fallen arches, sometimes referred to as flat feet, they may wonder if this is something to be concerned about. Health experts say unless pain in present, flat feet likely need no medical intervention.

Parents want to be sure that their children are healthy from top to bottom. When parents see that their children may have fallen arches, sometimes referred to as flat feet, or discover it from a pediatrician, they may wonder if this is something to be concerned about. Flat feet are common. A 2006 study of the condition published in the journal “Pediatrics” found the prevalence of flat feet in a studied group of children between ages of 3 and 6 was 44%. Whereas the prevalence of flat feet can decrease with age, it is a widely seen condition that will generally stay with a child into adulthood unless there is medical intervention. The Mayo Clinic reports flat feet occur when arches don’t develop during childhood. Flat feet also can occur after an injury or through wear and tear with age. Flat feet are generally a painless condition, but for some, fallen arches can contribute to problems in the ankles and knees because the condition can impact the alignment of the legs. Also, some others may find their feet tire easily when walking. Unless there is pain, no treatment is usually advised. Doctors may refer some patients with flat feet to a foot specialist. He or she may advise use of shoe insoles to support the feet better and also explain which types of shoes to wear for utmost comfort.

Fallen arches are common. Toddlers may grow out of the condition. However, even if flat feet are a permanent fixture, they should not affect a person’s ability to lead a fully active life.

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