My daughter is 18 months old and has started walking at the age of 14 months. We have noticed flat feet signs in one foot (heel bulged inward while walking and toes curved slightly outward). Pediatrician suggests exercise to reverse the situation. Could anyone please advise me of best effective exercise.
A flat foot is normal in infants and toddlers, because the foot's arch hasn't yet developed. Most people's arches develop throughout childhood, but some people never develop arches. This is a normal variation in foot type, and people without arches may or may not have problems.
Some children have flexible flatfoot, in which the arch is visible when the child is sitting or standing on tiptoes, but disappears when the child stands. Most children outgrow flexible flatfoot without problems.
Arches can also fall over time. Years of wear and tear can weaken the tendon that runs along the inside of your ankle and helps support your arch.
No treatment is necessary for flatfeet if they don't cause pain.
If your flat feet are painful, your doctor might suggest:
Arch supports (orthotic devices). Over-the-counter arch supports may help relieve the pain caused by flatfeet. Or your doctor might suggest custom-designed arch supports, which are molded to the contours of your feet. Arch supports won't cure flat feet, but they often reduce symptoms.
Stretching exercises. Some people with flatfeet also have a shortened Achilles tendon. Exercises to stretch this tendon may help.
Supportive shoes. A structurally supportive shoe might be more comfortable than sandals or shoes with minimal support.
Physical therapy. Flatfeet may contribute to overuse injuries in some runners. A physical therapist can do a video analysis of how you run to help you improve your form and technique.
Surgery isn't done solely to correct flat feet. However, you might have surgery for an associated problem, such as a tendon tear or rupture.
I like to roll my feet over a soda bottle with warm water inside. It relaxes achy feet, stretches the muscles and is comforting. I can do it while I am sitting and doing something else. I do not do this for flat feet (I have another medical issue) but to help keep my feet limber and to exercise the lower leg muscles. I also find walking on uneven surfaces -- grass or sand to be of help in strengthening my limbs. You can stretch a foot against a towel, too.
See a medical professional because only a doctor can diagnose flat feet. It may or may not be an issue for your child as apparently most children develop arches over time.