Help, my child has flat feet!

A child has flat feet when his foot arches are low or absent. Here’s advice on tackling flat foot issues.


Peter Jayan realised something was wrong with his 4-year-old son Yuvaraj’s feet when the youngster kept complaining that the shoes he was trying on were too tight and they hurt . Says Peter, 40. “He was trying on shoes in his regular size, so we were perplexed.”

A few months later, a paediatrician diagnosed his son with flat feet after running several tests. Explains Peter, “The fact that the soles of his feet didn’t have the slight arch we all have when he’s standing was a dead giveaway. Suddenly, it also made sense why Yuvaraj runs funny, like a duck!”

Since Yuvaraj’s case was in no way debilitating, nor did it affect his quality of life, the paediatrician’s advice was to slot insoles into his shoes for support and to buy well-made shoes that are broader in the front. Yuvaraj, now 6, notes that as long as he’s wearing good shoes, his feet don’t ache or tire out too quickly. “Sometimes, it can be difficult to put on socks because my feet are so flat, but I have my parents around to help,” the precocious preschooler adds.

The easiest way to figure out of junior has flat feet is to get him to stand on tip toe and look for an arch.


What is flat feet syndrome?

When you have flat feet, the arches that are typically visible at the soles of the feet aren’t there when you stand.

It’s common for babies to be born with flat feet ― a condition that can persist well into their childhood, notes Fiona Hu, principal podiatrist at The Sole Clinic. Hu, who urges parents not to be too worried if they think their child might have this problem, also points out that most kids don’t begin to form arches until they are 3 to 5 years of age. “This largely occurs because children’s bones and joints are flexible, and when they stand with weight on, the arch looks collapsed,” Hu explains. “Young children also have a fat pad on the inner border of their feet that hides the arch.”

The easiest way to figure out if junior has flat feet is to get him to stand on tip toe and look for an arch. Normally, flat feet “disappear” by age 7 as the feet become less flexible and the muscles supporting the feet develop. “Only 10 to 20 per cent of children will continue to have flat feet into adulthood,” Hu adds.

Find out what are the flat feet signs and symptoms to look out for…next