Sunday, January 23, 2022

No Need To Treat Your Child's Flat Feet

My young patient (only 6 years young then) was told he had flat feet, pronated 'too much' and needed orthotics. He was prescribed the pair of ankle foot orthoses pictured below. His parents ended up a few thousand dollars poorer and they were told to bring him back for more appointments. 

I could not begin to imagine the trauma this child had to go through mentally and physically, having had to wear those *orthotics (picture below) whenever he went out.

Parents with children who have flat feet please take note. This latest Cochrane Review (just published on 14/1/22) states that "in the absence of pain, the use of high cost customised foot orthoses (CFO) for healthy children (from 11 months to 19 years old) with flexible flat feet has NO supporting evidence, and draws very limited conclusions about foot orthoses for treating paediatric flat feet". 

Review articles from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews are highly respected and trusted. Google it if you like.

Not just costly CFO's, less expensive prefabricated (off the shelf) foot orthoses are not needed as well.

This Cochrane review also suggests that there is no further need to research asymptomatic flat feet in healthy children. It is better to focus on other paediatric conditions instead. 

Parents, now you know, do not waste your time and hard earned money on orthotics for your children. Don't worry too much about their shoes too. Email me if you want a copy of the article.


Evans AM, Rome K, Carroll M et al (2022). Foot Orthoses For Treating Paediatric Flat Feet. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Issue 1. Art No: CD006311. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006311.pub3. Accessed 18 January 2022

*in my opinion, the orthotics look like they will do a better job limiting ankle movement with the stiff upright medial (inner) and lateral (outer) sections

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the use of expensive orthotic arch supports for children with flat feet. I recently worked with a 11 year old boy who used orthotics for six years. He had reached a point where his feet were so weak he could not do anything involving a lot of walking. At the start of the first session, I explained to his mother (who was a nurse) that the use of orthotics was a major reason for the pain he had been experiencing throughout his feet. After hearing what I had to say about custom orthotics, she expressed that she felt bad for having had her son fitted for orthotic inserts all those years earlier. Then I told her not to blame herself for not knowing what she didn't know at the time. Unfortunately, not many practitioners share information on the negative impact orthotics have on the mechanics of a child who is growing and developing.