Flattening in children is considered a common pathology and is diagnosed more and more, which can partly be explained by the worldwide trend towards a sedentary, "computer-television" lifestyle. With what other factors are linked this disease, how dangerous and how it is treated, we will consider further.
Flattening in children - reasons
Due to properly formed arches of the feet, their basic functions are carried out in terms of load sharing, impact mitigation, equilibrium, etc. Flattening in the child is characterized by a flattening of the vaults, in which the foot is devoid of hollows from the inside and almost completely adjacent to the floor surface. The front part gradually widens, and the heel is turned backward.
Congenital platypodia is rare, and it is associated with various intrauterine anomalies of fetal development, exposure to ionizing radiation, harmful habits of a pregnant woman. In this case, the disease is often detected immediately after birth and is combined with other vices. Often, this disease is acquired, formed as the development of the baby due to the following reasons:
- increased body weight;
- insufficient and monotonous motor activity;
- frequent walking barefoot on an even hard surface;
- unsuitable footwear (bought for growth, inherited, having a flat sole, too soft or hard);
- paralysis of the musculoskeletal apparatus of the foot (due to infantile cerebral palsy, poliomyelitis);
- leg injuries;
- suffered rickets ;
- heredity, etc.
It is worth knowing that flat feet in children up to 6-8 years old - in most cases a physiological phenomenon. When a child is born, his feet are flat, without obvious arches, which is explained by the cartilaginous structure of bone tissues, muscle weakness, the predominance of fatty tissue on the plantar surface, which acts as a shock absorber. The abundance of soft tissues in the feet is present until about three years of age, and then gradually decreases. At the same time the ligamentous apparatus develops, due to which the height of the arch is raised.
Thus, undergoing natural physiological changes, the foot vaults, as well as the shape of the legs and posture , "mature" to a maximum of ten years of age. If the development of the child is normal, correct vaults are formed. Further, in adolescence, when there is increased growth and large-scale endocrine changes in the body, the skeletal-muscular system of children again becomes vulnerable, subject to deformities, the risk of flatfoot development increases.
Types of flat feet in children
The foot has two main arches - a transverse (between the bases of phalanges) and longitudinal (along the inner edge). With this in mind, flat feet, whose species are determined depending on the affected arch, is divided into transverse and longitudinal. The combined form of the disease is less common. In addition, there is a diagnosis of "valgus flatfoot", when there is a deviation of the limb axis.
Transverse flat feet in children
With this type of pathology, the transverse arch falls, the anterior section resting on the heads of all metatarsal bones. This flat feet develops with the genetic predisposition of the baby in combination with the action of external unfavorable factors. Gradually, due to the fan-shaped divergence of the bones, the length of the sole decreases, its width increases, the thumb deviates from the outside, the middle finger undergoes deformations.
Longitudinal flat feet in children
If a "flatfoot longitudinal type" is diagnosed, the child experiences a flattening of the longitudinal arch of the foot. As a result, the length of the foot increases, the entire surface touching the floor, gradually develops clubfoot. A characteristic feature is the increased wear of the sole of the shoe along the inner edge. Ankle joint with this pathology is inactive.
Valgus platypodia in children
Quite often longitudinal flatfoot, the deformation of the foot at which it leads to the lowering of its middle part, causes valgus curvature . In this case, there is a turn of the fingers and calcaneus outward and the curvature of the axis in the ankle (displacement inside). The reason is sometimes the early setting of the baby on the legs, injuries, the wrong choice of shoes.
Degrees of flat feet in children
To diagnose the disease apply the data of the footprint. Depending on the intensity of deformation, several stages of the disease are distinguished:
- Platypodia of 1 degree - the height of the arch is close to normal, the symptoms are poorly expressed, but weakened ligaments and mild pains in the evening;
- Platypodia of 2 degrees - there is a "flattening" of the foot, visible visually, the child often aching legs (including in the ankle, knee), swelling of the feet, changes in gait;
- Platypodia of the third degree is characterized by a strong deformation of the feet, fingers, the child is difficult and painful to walk, there is pain along the entire length of the lower extremities and in the spinal column, a strong puffiness.
What is dangerous flatfoot?
It is a mistake to think that the pathology under consideration does not pose a serious threat to the child's organism, being, rather, a cosmetic defect. Even if this is a starting platypodia, its consequences in the future can be very unfavorable for different systems of the body. The most common complications are:
- development of dystrophic joint damage;
- scoliosis ;
- heel spur;
- the Morton neuroma.
These pathologies develop with flat feet in children due to increased load on the joints of the legs and spine in conditions of poor cushioning ability of the feet. Such consequences are remote, but before that from constant pains in the legs and back, increased fatigue affects the quality of life of the baby, deteriorating his academic performance.
How to determine the flat feet of a child?
Parents should know how to identify flat feet in a child, so as not to miss precious time and get treatment in time. The following manifestations should be cautious:
- quick wear of the inside of the sole of the shoe and heels, deformation of the boot tops inside;
- frequent complaints of the baby for fatigue while walking, pain in the legs;
- presence of calluses, abrasions on the plantar part;
- unfolding the feet inside while walking;
- swelling of the feet.
As a home test, you can apply a method with the imprinting of traces. To do this, you need to take a clean sheet of paper and, having smeared the plantar parts of the baby's feet with a fat cream, vegetable oil or watercolors, put it on this sheet. And the legs should be brought together, the feet placed on one line parallel to each other, the back is even. On the prints in the area between the heel and the plus, the width of the isthmus is normally a maximum of one-third of the total width. Otherwise, there is a probability of pathology. The final diagnosis is made by an orthopedist or a forgery.
How to treat flat feet in children?
When flat feet are found in children, treatment is prescribed at any age, it is complex and depends on the extent of the lesion. For this, first of all, diagnostics is carried out through planotography, sub-metering, radiography of the foot. Methods of treating flat feet in children are aimed at strengthening the muscular structures of the legs, improving blood circulation, correcting the deformation of the foot and ankle by soft physical impact on the ligaments and joints.
Exercises for flat feet in children
Depending on the extent of the changes, the child is recommended a set of leg exercises, which can be carried out at home. Flat feet in children require regularity in treatment - only in this case, you can count on a positive result. Therefore, classes should be conducted daily, once or twice a day. In the complex of exercise therapy with flat feet in children, exercises are often included.
In a sitting position on a chair:
- flexion-extension of the toes;
- circular movements of feet clockwise and counterclockwise;
- stretching of socks from themselves and in the opposite direction;
- alternately lifting the socks and heels from the floor surface;
- gripping and moving small fingers (small balls, blocks, pencils) with your toes;
- grip and lift between the feet of a small ball;
- rolling the feet back and forth with a gymnastic stick, a ball with thorns;
In the standing position:
- raising and lowering on toes;
- squatting without taking off the heels off the floor;
- walking on socks, heels, ribs of the outer and inner parts of the sole;
- walking sideways to the left and to the right on a gymnastic stick.
Do it barefoot, repeating everything 10-12 times. For preschool kids, all physical exercises can be performed in a playful form, clearly demonstrating the correctness of the exercises. In addition, children with this diagnosis is useful to walk sideways on a log, climb a rope, engage in gymnastics, ride a bicycle, swim.
Massage with flat feet in children
If the child has a flatfoot, what to do to correct the situation, the doctor will tell. In most cases, the prescribed therapeutic measures include professional foot massage, aimed at increasing muscle tone, improving metabolic processes. Flat feet in children by means of massage is treated with periodic courses of 10 to 15 sessions performed by a professional. Applying kneading, stroking and rubbing, the foot is massaged from the heel to the toes, the drumstick is on the back side.
Orthopedic mat-puzzle for children from flat feet
At home, an excellent therapeutic and prophylactic method for flat feet is walking on a special rug, the surface of which simulates the relief of pebbles of various sizes and grass, covered with small massaging spikes. A flat mat for children made of foamed polymer is made and it is a set of several square details that are combined in the form of a path, snake or in the form of a rectangle. Orthopedic mat is quite capable of replacing the carpet in the children's room, which will ensure regular foot massage.
Similar accessories can be made and independently from a cut off of a carpet on which are attached:
- flat pebbles;
- old pencils;
- plastic caps;
- buttons and the like.
Orthopedic insoles for children with flat feet
Undisturbed flat feet in children, treatment at home which is carried out taking into account all the recommendations of a doctor, is effectively corrected. One of the purposes is often the wearing of special insoles designed to correctly distribute the load on the feet while walking, correct deformities and stop their progression. These products, selected or manufactured individually, are recommended to be worn both on the street and at home.
Methods of preventing flat feet in children
Parents who are sensitive to the health of their child, can prevent the development of this ailment at an early stage. Prevention of flat feet in children is based on the observance of several simple recommendations:
- The child should walk regularly and run barefoot on an uneven surface (pebbles, grass, sand, massage mat).
- Shoes must be properly selected (new, appropriate measurements of the foot, well fixing the foot, with a folding sole and a small heel).
- Physical exertion should be regular and dosed (neither too little activity nor excessive sport is welcomed).