Paediatric Foot Problems

Flat Feet

From birth, children have flat feet, or no arches. As the child grows the foot structure changes slowly and usually by five years of age, sometimes later, the child develops a medial longitudinal arch. Some children don’t develop this arch until they are seven or eight years of age and some don’t develop them at all. That is not to say a child may be deformed because he/she has flat feet. Many people have grown up with flat feet and never developed a problem as a result of it. In some instances non-development of an arch in a child may be detrimental to their future development and activities, but this may only ascertained through proper biomechanical assessment by a podiatrist.

If treatment is necessary it is best to start as young as five or six years of age, depending on their level of activity and footwear, to aid in the child’s development. Management of the paediatric flatfoot is attained with the use of prescription orthotics and exercises to strengthen the necessary muscles involved in maintaining an arch. Untreated flat feet may lead to symptoms such as, tired and aching feet and legs, painful heels, painful arches, painful knees and sometimes even lower back pain.

Growth Plate Anomalies

These may also be known as osteochondrosis, which are a group of diseases that commonly affect children during the rapid growth phase. A combination of traction from tendons and a reduced blood supply at the growth plate often gives rise to pain in non-articular areas, such as the back of the heel (Sever’s disease) or the front the leg just below the knee cap (Osgood Schlatters disease). These conditions are common in both boys and girls, especially if they are very active. Often these problems may resolve spontaneously over time with some rest, but for those that don’t, intervention is needed in the form of orthotics, insoles or strapping to control foot function, and physiotherapy.


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