My child seems to have flatfoot, do I need to buy him special insoles?

What is flatfoot?

Flatfoot means foot with a depressed or flattened inner arch. It can be rigid flatfoot, flexible flatfoot or an illusion because the inner arch of the foot has a fat pad during infancy. Usually an infant will have more fat tissue on the inner side of the feet, making them look like flatfeet. When the baby grows older, the fat tissue on the inner arches of the feet will decrease. Over 90% of children will have their foot arches formed gradually.

Most of the children with flatfeet are having flexible flatfeet, which is a normal transitional stage. When they stand on tiptoes, the inner arches of the feet will appear. If your child complains of foot discomfort or there is excessive wearing on the shoes, you can discuss the condition with your family doctor or physiotherapist.

Causes for rigid flatfoot include congenital bone problems or neuromuscular problems. Children with these problems usually will complain of foot discomfort or tiredness more easily. They may also have signs of developmental delay.

Do I need to buy special shoes or insoles for my child?

Studies have shown that special shoes or insoles are of no use for the development of the inner arches of the feet. If the inner arches have not yet developed after the age of 5, or your child complains of foot discomfort, the use of special shoes or insoles may reduce the excessive wearing of the shoes and decrease foot discomfort. If you suspect your child having rigid flatfoot, you need to bring him to visit a doctor or physiotherapist.