Flat feet

About 1 in 7 children never develop an arch. The arch is the curve on the bottom of the foot. This is known as flat feet. Flat feet are normal for infants and young children. Children most often have flat feet because they are loose jointed. This means the ligaments in the foot don't support the arch.

Arches come in different heights. You can normally see the arch when your child's feet hang free over a chair or table. You may also be able to see the arch when your child stands on his or her toes. When standing normally, the arch may flatten.

When might flat feet be a problem?

Your child's doctor may be concerned about the arches of your child's feet if they are:

  • Very stiff
  • Painful
  • Very flat
  • Very high


Treatment for flat feet is not normally needed, as your child's arches should develop by their teenage years. In some cases, the doctor may recommend arch supports to help relieve pain in your child's foot. If your child's feet are in constant pain and not flexible, further evaluation is needed.

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