Flat Feet in Children

“My child has flat feet, should I be worried?” 

This is a frequent query at our clinic, and Shane Brennan, specialist physiotherapist in foot and ankle issues at Mid West Physiotherapy, is here to answer the most common questions about flat feet in children, and hopefully provide reassurance. 


What are flat feet?

Children with flat feet have a lower arch, so that when they are standing, the arch is flat on the floor. In some cases the foot may roll inwards.


Why does it happen?

In most cases, it is a normal part of growth and development. In very few cases, flat feet are caused by bony abnormalities in the foot.


Do flat feet hurt?

Flat feet are present in up to 15% of children, but only a minority of them hurt or limit gait.


What should I do?

In most cases, flat feet are a normal part of aging, that improve as the child gets older. Most children that come to me with flat feet don’t need any intervention. There are a few things I look out for when deciding how to manage flat feet.

  1. Pain or dysfunction – If the child has pain in the foot, or if their flat foot is causing them issues when running or walking, they may need some treatment.
  2. Symmetry – If both feet are equally flat, this is usually a sign that there is nothing to worry about, and that it is a normal part of aging.
  3. Age – If the child is younger than 10, and has flat feet but no symptoms, again, it is unlikely that any treatment is needed. It can take up to 10 years for the arch to form.


I’m still concerned, what should I do?

If your child has symptomatic flat feet, or if you are concerned by changes in your child’s foot posture, I would be very happy to assess and provide guidance. You can book an in-clinic appointment via our online booking page, or you can also book with our Reception team by calling 061-201444 or emailing



  • The HSE has a fact-sheet for parents and guardians that you can view here.
  • The Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists also has some useful information sheets on their website: click here for more.



Evans, A.M. (2017), Mitigating clinician and community concerns about children’s flatfeet, intoeing gait, knock knees or bow legs. J Paediatr Child Health, 53: 1050-1053.

Evans AM, Rome K, Carroll M, Hawke F. Foot orthoses for treating paediatric flat feet. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2022, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD006311. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD

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