Flatfoot: Understanding Pediatric Pes Planus

Flatfoot, also known as pediatric pes planus or fallen arches, is a common condition in which the arches of the feet appear to be reduced or absent, causing the entire sole of the foot to come into contact with the ground. While many children have flexible flatfeet that are normal during early development, some cases may require evaluation and management. Understanding flatfoot, its causes, symptoms, and potential treatment options, is essential for parents and caregivers. Here’s a comprehensive overview of flatfoot in children:

Causes of Flatfoot in Children:

Flexible flatfeet are often a result of normal development during early childhood. As children grow and develop muscle strength, many of them naturally outgrow this condition. However, some cases of flatfoot may be attributed to:

  • Hereditary factors: Family history can play a role in the development of flatfoot.
  • Ligament laxity: Loose ligaments can contribute to the appearance of flatfoot.
  • Overpronation: Excessive inward rolling of the feet when walking or running.
  • Obesity: Excess weight can put strain on the arches of the feet.


Flexible flatfeet in children may not cause any discomfort or symptoms. However, some children may experience:

  • Pain or discomfort in the feet, especially after physical activity.
  • Fatigue or aching in the feet or legs.
  • Difficulty fitting into shoes due to the width of the feet.


Diagnosing flatfoot involves:

  • Physical Examination: A healthcare provider or pediatrician examines the child’s feet and assesses their flexibility, alignment, and arch shape.
  • Gait Analysis: Observing the child’s walking pattern can provide insights into any abnormal foot mechanics.

Treatment Options:

Treatment for flexible flatfoot is usually conservative and may include:

  • Observation: For many children, no treatment is necessary as they naturally outgrow flatfoot.
  • Physical Therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve foot muscle strength and alignment.
  • Orthotic Devices: Shoe inserts or arch supports may provide additional support and alleviate discomfort.
  • Footwear: Wearing supportive, well-fitting shoes can help provide stability and cushioning.
  • Weight Management: If excess weight is a contributing factor, maintaining a healthy weight can help relieve strain on the feet.

When to Seek Medical Attention:

If your child experiences pain, discomfort, or any concerns related to flatfoot, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare provider, pediatrician, or pediatric orthopedic specialist. They can provide proper assessment, guidance, and appropriate treatment recommendations.

Long-Term Outlook:

Many cases of flexible flatfoot resolve naturally as children grow and develop. However, if flatfoot persists and causes pain or discomfort, it’s important to address the issue with medical professionals to ensure the child’s overall foot health and comfort.


Flatfoot is a common condition in children that often resolves on its own with time and proper development. While most cases of flexible flatfoot do not require intervention, seeking medical attention if your child experiences pain or discomfort is recommended. By working closely with healthcare providers and following their recommendations, you can ensure your child’s foot health and comfort as they continue to grow and participate in various activities.