Flat Feet in Children and the Relationship to Growing Pains

Though misaligned feet may not cause any serious issues for a child, it is important to manage them as soon as possible to avoid future problems. Aligned feet are the basis for having an aligned body. There are some signs you can look for to determine whether or not you child has misaligned feet, as well as steps that can be taken to correct them.

Signs Your Child May Have Misaligned Feet

There are two main things that you can look for that help determine whether or not your child has misaligned feet. Everyone is born with “fat feet,” but for those with misaligned feet, it doesn’t seem to go away. Typically, the arch of the foot begins to develop at the age of 3. If the bones are not stable, it leads to an “unlocking” of the hind and midfoot bones, causing a lower than normal arch, and for the foot to appear “flat.” If your child’s foot remains flat, or without a distinct arch, this could be a sign of misaligned feet.

Another sign is growing pains. Unlike common beliefs, bones don’t actually hurt when they grow, otherwise, we would experience pain until we reached our growth peak. The leg pain that is commonly referred to as growing pains is actually an early symptom of misaligned feet. When a child has misaligned feet, everyday activities cause strain to the lining of their leg bones. If the strain is more than they can handle, the nerve endings are triggered resulting in “growing pains.” Misaligned feet cause the foot muscles to have to work four to five times harder, as they are working to keep your child moving and realign their foot.

The Foundation Joint of the Foot

 The entire body rests on the talotarsal joint (TTJ). It forms a naturally occurring space called the sinus tarsi. The stability of the TTJ is what determines if the foot is stable/aligned, or unstable/misaligned. The sinus tarsi should always remain in an open position. The collapse of the sinus tarsi is what causes the foot to become flat.

Can Flat Feet be Outgrown?

There is no medical evidence to suggest flat feet can be outgrown. If they are flat, they will continue to be flat and can get worse over time. With each step taken, excessive forces continue to push the ankle bone out of alignment. Ligaments, tendons, and muscles will not tighten-up to aide in stabilizing the ankle bone.

Furthermore, the underlying cause of flat feet—talotarsal displacement—leads to a chain reaction of strain and misalignment throughout the body, affecting the knees, hips, pelvis, and back.

Here, you see a clear representation of a stable and unstable foot. On the left, you can see the ankle and leg are in alignment. On the right, the foot is flat and the ankle is rolled inward. This causes the knee to do the same, while the leg bows outward.

Extra-Osseous Talotarsal Stabilization (EOTTS) with HyProCure

EOTTS is a minimally-invasive, soft tissue procedure that stabilizes the foot internally. It is more effective than orthotics and less traumatic than reconstructive surgery. The procedure can be performed in under 20 minutes and patients are back to walking in a few weeks.

HyProCure, a small titanium stent, is placed into the sinus tarsi through a small incision below the outer ankle bone. Once placed, it realigns the foot and restores natural joint motion. HyProCure won’t block joint movement, nor does it require the cutting or drilling of bone. It is safe for use in pediatric patients three years and up, and is scientifically proven to:

+ Reduce high-pressure areas to the bottom of the foot

+ Restore/Improve the arch

+ Have the highest success rate (94%)