Flat Feet/ Fallen Arches

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Flat footed daughter has no arch whatsoever

Sept 2006

My daughter's feet as as flat as can be: no arch what so ever. It does not give her any problem, she can walk for hours, plays good tennis and is one of the best runners at school. My concern is long term: isn't this going to create back issue when she gets older? The pediatrician thought this was a non issue, I'm wondering if any of you has any knowledge of this question and/or knows of a good podiatrist. Thanks anon

I can just talk about my experience. I'm a 37yr old w/ very flat feet and don't have back problems and run as a hobby and did track in high school. One issue I've had, though, which took me forever to figure out, is that shoes are made w/ some standard height. You can get longer or shorter w/ the size, and wider or narrower w/ B, A, AA, D, etc. but they don't come in different heights. I found that I pretty much can only wear shoes that lace, lacing them as tightly as the shoe allows, sometimes overlapping the flaps, to have a well-fitting shoe. I then discovered buying cheap shoe inserts (like $1.20) helped a lot. But before, esp for women's dress shoes, as they slip on, I always wore a size too small, so they'd stay on my feet and it's no wonder they killed my toes. For the loafer style, the cheap shoe inserts (whole foot shape) don't work, 'cause they raise the heel area out of the nice heel cup, at least for me. Inserts that just raise the arch and not the heel are likely better, but I haven't found ones that work well and stay in place well with all shoes. I haven't ever tried podiatrist made orthodics, but have heard they are great (but $$). So, my advice is be careful and patient shoe shopping! Always hated shoe shopping

Generally speaking flat feet are not an issue as long as the arch is preserved when the child is not weight bearing. Another way to check for preserved arch is to have the child go up on the tip toes and check for the arch. Sometimes there may be knee or hip pain associated with flat feet long term. Then we will treat this with arch support or in shoe orthotics. Elaine

My husband is flat-footed and doesn't have any back problems or other similar problems. He has no problem hiking long distances.

I would take her to a Podiatry expert. My flat-footed child was fine with athletics, too, until adolescence. Then foot massages, and constant complaints about foot pain led us to Podiatry, where custom orthotics were recommended, fabricated and used to this day (she's nearly 20). It became a real problem with her athletics or long-period foot use (long walks, etc.). From her toddler days, just like you, the doctors all told me it wasn't a problem-----they kept saying that until her pain and discomfort couldn't be ignored. She'll need orthotics her entire life now, for sports at least. Hindsight is perfect 20-20

I was flat footed as a child. I wore arch supports (the little pads that one glues into the bottom of one's shoes) for years, and was never allowed to wear sandals as a child.

The arch supports appear to have done some amount of good, as I have a very slight arch as an adult. I have no back problems to speak of (that are not related to carrying a heavy child!) -- probably fewer back problems than the majority of adults my age. I can wear sandals just fine, and mostly go barefoot at home.

So my advice is that this probably will not be a problem for your child, if the doctor thinks it will not. You can easily get arch supports put into shoes at a shoe store (make sure they are properly fitted so that they are comfortable for your child). And it's probably a good idea to wear supportive shoes (no sandals or flip-flops) most of the time Karen

Hello, I'm flat footed, infact my wife says I don't have feet I have 'pads', but anyway, I would not worry about your daughters feet. I had no issues until I was in an accident and crushed my feet, and could not walk for a couple of weeks. To try and speed up the healing process I went to a podiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon. Both suggested I try orthotics and gave me stories of woe of how my feet 'were' and 'would' cause me so many problems.

Well I can only say that the only time it hurts is when I'm trying to wear some 'corrective' device, otherwise my feet do not bother me. Oh yes, I have scoliosis, and I can not say that my feet have had any influence on that issue as well. Both of my brothers have it and they DO have arches and it is not an issue. Lastly, my 10yr. old son is FF and i do not see any issues. Not to worry Flat and happy