Recently, a mother brought her 3-year-old child to my office very concerned that he has flat feet. Another practitioner told her that he requires orthotics immediately. This is a common concern of many parents out there so let’s get our facts straight.
It is normal for babies and infants to have the appearance of flat feet due to a fat pad that is in the arch region and also because the arch hasn’t fully developed yet. The longitudinal arch of the foot begins to develop around the age of 2. Children’s bones and joints are quite flexible so at a young age, their feet tend to flatten when they stand. It takes time for the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones to grow strong to form an arch. Having the child go barefoot more often on varying terrain can help with arch development. By the age of six or seven, the feet become less flexible and the arches become fully developed.