What is flat foot?
The sole of the foot has an inner arch that extends from the heels to the base of the big toe, a foot is called flat foot (or pes planus, flexible flat foot) when the arch is missing. So, for a kid/adult with flat feet, most or all of the foot touches the floor.
The majority of the children between 1-5 years of age have flat feet as they are born with flat feet. As the child starts to walk, the soft tissues along the bottom of the feet tighten, which gradually starts shaping the arch of the foot.
Type of Flat Feet
Flat feet are normally categorized into two types: flexible and rigid.
Flexible flat feet
A flexible flat foot is usually a normal variant of a foot, where, you can see a visible, distinct arch when the child is sitting, lying down or on tiptoes and the arch disappears when the child is standing. This is very common in children, usually painless and do not interfere with walking or any physical sport activities. It is advised to consult your pediatrician if there is pain in flatfeet, muscle weakness/tightness, or the child is having problems performing age-appropriate activities.
Rigid flat feet
Unlike flexible flat feet, no arch is visible even while sitting, lying down or on tiptoes. A rigid flatfeet remains flat in all the positions and do not move as easily from side to side. You might want to note that a rigid flatfeet can cause foot pain during everyday activities. It usually, is a result of some underlying bone or joint problem that may require treatment.
It is important to note that it is normal for children to have flat feet as arch height increases until 6-7 years of age. No intervention is required until advised by your pediatrician otherwise.
However, there are some fun activities to promote the development of arch muscles!
Hide and seek
Fill a bucket/tub with dried beans/sand/rice. Hide few small toys inside like a car, ball etc (nothing sharp). Ask your child to stand in the bucket and find toys using the feet, then curling the toes to grab the toys and put it outside (everything using the feet and toes).
Place a therapy ball in the corner of the room. Have your child stand on it, holding his/her hands, and make him jump on the ball (make sure to hold hands all the time). This also helps in the development of the arch.
Walk on heels
Encourage your child to walk barefoot with heels(back of the foot) on the ground and toes up.
Please make sure to not to leave child unattended while doing all the activities!