Flat Feet or Dropped Arches

Flat feet, dropped arches, weak ankles or Pronated feet are a common concern in children. In early child hood there is a “fat pad” in the arch of the foot which gives the appearance of a flat foot, which is a normal part of development. However if your child remains flat footed it may need to be checked. There are many different causes of flat feet, from birth deformities to abnormal leg and foot development. Too much pronation can contribute to a number of foot, leg and postural concerns in later life.

If both parents have flat feet, then it is less likely that their child will grow out of it, and it is advisable to have this assessed by your podiatrist.

In-toe and Out-toe walking

In-toeing or Pigeon-toed are terms for when the feet point inwards instead of straight ahead. A common problem with in-toeing is that the child is more likely to trip or look awkward walking. Most children tend to grow out of  this naturally by the age of around 2. If in-toeing persists after this period then special shoes, orthotics and stretches may be recommended by your podiatrist.

At around 2, most children will walk with their feet straight ahead or pointing slightly outwards. Out-toeing occurs when the feet splay out to the side excessively. In most cases this is a normal part of development, but in some cases it may be related to other problems such as poor hip and knee alignment.

In most cases in-toeing and out-toeing is normal, but in persistent cases treatment may be needed.

Toe walking

Toe walking is usually a normal part of a child’s development, particularly when they are first starting to walk. Most cases are just habit and the child will tend to grow out of it. There are other causes of toe walking that should be assessed. Toe walking can be caused by neurological problems such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and spinal cord problems. Other causes include leg length differences or tight achilles tendons. In mild cases stretching, and physical therapy may be indicated. In severe cases then consideration of surgery, casting or neurological assessment may be advisable.