When babies are born and grow into toddlerhood, they tend to have feet that appear flat. However, as most children get older, their feet develop an arch. If your child doesn't get an arch, they may have flat feet. As a parent, you may be wondering how to support them.
1. Have Them Wear Shoes Regularly
Barefeet can be a lot of fun. Your child may love to feel the sand between their toes or enjoy the fun of splashing in a puddle. Unfortunately, going barefoot doesn't offer any support to your child's foot. If your child has flat feet, you may want to minimise time spent barefoot and encourage your child to wear shoes on a regular basis. Ideally, you should choose shoes that have ample amounts of support.
2. Encourage an Active Lifestyle
Flat feet are often associated with being overweight. Because of that, you should encourage your child to have an active lifestyle. Make activity a regular part of your life with family bike rides, trips to the climbing gym, afternoons at the beach, and other activities.
3. Be Mindful of Aches and Pains
That said, whilst it's important to be active, you also need to keep in mind that children with flat feet may have more aches and pains than other children. In particular, your child may complain of pain in their feet, Achilles tendon, shins, and calves.
Support your child by being mindful of their aches and pains. Let them take frequent breaks while exercising. If possible, you may want your family activity to centre around small bursts of activity rather than prolonged walking or running that can exacerbate your child's pain.
4. Help With Stretches
To alleviate your child's pain and to help with their flat feet, you may want to teach your child how to do some stretches. In particular, you want to do stretches that lengthen the Achilles tendon.
Have your child sit on the floor with their legs stretched out in front of them. Then, take a towel or a band and have your child place their foot in the towel and grab their ends with their hands. Your child should pull on the ends of the towel until they feel a stretch.
5. See a Podiatrist
Finally, remember that flat feet are a medical issue. Consult with your child's pediatrician and see if your child should see a podiatrist. A podiatrist can give your child special inserts for their shoes and make other recommendations as needed.