As podiatrist who sees a large number of children in my practice, this is a question I get asked on a daily basis.
And the short answer to this question is no!
Children’s Foot Development
It is totally normal for children to display ‘flat-feet’ during their formative years when the musculoskeletal system is developing. Forces applied to the foot during the first years allow the bone structure to develop.
This will continue until approximately 7 years of age when the skeletal structure responsible for forming our ‘arch’ has fully developed. Even then, the foot will undergo a number of changes as it grows in size, the muscles lengthen and we put on more body mass.
It is important to note that foot type is variable and just because your child may display a flatter foot type does not mean they are necessarily predisposed to injury or delayed lower limb development.
We can often get an insight into how our children’s feet will develop by looking at our own. If there is a familial history of lower limb injury, then this could be a flag for further assessment.
Treating your Child’s Flat Feet
Here is the most important advice I can give. Listen and observe your children
It’s the best way to pick up if something is wrong. Are they keeping up with their friends? Are they constantly tripping over or complaining of being tired? Or are they wearing through shoes quicker than their siblings or friends? These are all signs that something could be impacting upon your child’s ability to be active.
Young bodies develop quickly, sometime too quickly, therefore it is important that if needed, treatment or management strategies are implemented as soon as possible. As such, I suggest regular annual lower limb developmental reviews of your child with an experienced children’s podiatrist.