You may have noticed your child’s feet were flat when you saw his or her footprints in sand or if your child walked on a flat surface with wet feet. Arches, the curved part of the bottom of the feet, are like a bridge made of bones joined together by ligaments. They help absorb the shock of walking and distribute weight on the feet. Although some children develop arches as their “baby fat” disappears, some children don’t. If not, it’s still considered normal, and usually not a cause for concern.
Although many children’s feet have arches when their feet are off the ground, they may have flat feet when standing. This is due to loose arch-supporting ligaments in the feet. The doctor inspects your child’s arches when they’re in the air and on a flat surface. If your child has painful flat feet, the doctor may order x-rays to determine the best type of treatment.
Over time, your child’s feet may or may not develop arches. If not, it won’t affect the way your child walks or runs. Your child’s doctor may suggest you go ahead and let your child play sports and participate in other activities.
If your child has painful flat feet, the doctor may recommend arch supports to help relieve pain. The doctor may recommend surgery if bone problems are present.