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I think my child has flat feet. Should I still let him run around in his bare feet?

We understand that you want the very best for your child’s feet. Many parents are concerned about fallen arches and flat feet—and a lot of blame is placed on barefoot running and the wearing of nonsupportive shoes, such as flip-flops.

Your child’s feet are not yet fully developed, and so they might look much different from yours. Young children, in particular, have greater stores of fat on their feet for protection, and the tendons along their soles have not yet tightened to form an arch. Most children start to develop an arch when they are around 3 years old, but some take longer—and some will never fully develop a noticeable arch.

If your child is complaining of pain along the bottom of his foot, you may want to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to rule out tarsal coalition. This condition occurs when two or more of the bones in the foot have grown improperly and fused together. It can be corrected with rest and a cast, but in some extreme cases, your child could require surgery to resolve the problem. 

If your child is not experiencing any pain or is not having problems walking, there probably is no need to correct his flat feet. Running, jumping, walking barefoot, and wearing flip-flops are not likely to inhibit his growth, cause his arches to fall, or make his flat feet any worse.

If you want to know more about the causes of flat foot pain, contact the experienced Philadelphia podiatrists at Healthmark Foot & Ankle Associates. We will be happy to set up a consultation for you over the phoneat 610-565-3668 in Media or 610-933-8644 in Phoenixville.