Many parents do something to commemorate their child’s footprint while they’re an infant. You’ve probably looked at your baby’s own footprint and marveled at its tiny size.
You might have noticed something else, too. While an adult footprint has a curve where the arch is, an infant’s usually connects from the inside edge of the heel to the inside edge of the ball of the foot. That’s because their arch hasn’t yet developed.
So, if your young child has flat feet, it’s no cause for concern. However, there is a point at which their arch should develop.
Here at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle in Roanoke and Decatur, Texas, Samantha Childers, DPM, and Ricky Childers, DPM, can help you monitor your child’s feet as they develop to keep an eye out for potential problems like flat feet.
We also want to help you track your child’s foot health at home, so let’s look at the general timeline for arch development.
When arches develop
As we mentioned, babies don’t come into the world with arches. They’re born with flat feet, and their arches develop as their bodies grow.
Most kids develop the arch of their foot by age 6. That said, somewhere between 1-2 of every 10 children never get a fully formed arch.
This isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Many children have flat feet that continue into adulthood without any issues. As a parent, the main thing you should watch for is signs that your child’s flat feet bother them.
How to spot flat foot problems
Observe your child as they play. If they seem to get tired quickly or have trouble keeping up with their peers, their flat feet could be holding them back.
Periodically ask them how their feet feel. If they report stiffness or pain, don’t hesitate to visit us at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle.
Here at our offices, Drs. Childers use the latest imaging technology — like digital X-rays — to find out what’s going on with your child’s feet. That way, we can tailor a care plan to help them enjoy their childhood without foot issues.
For some kids, that’s as simple as finding comfortable shoes they like that fit well. In other cases, treatment options like physical therapy and shoe inserts can help their feet develop properly and let them play without pain. Kids with flat feet very rarely need surgery.
If your child is under age 6 and has flat feet, give their arches time to develop. If they’re older than 6 and their feet seem to bother them, don’t hesitate to get them personalized care. You can get started by calling or sending an online message to one of our offices today.