Flat Feet and Proximal Joint Problems in Children

Gait & Posture published research on whether flexible flat feet (FF) results in the development of musculoskeletal symptoms at joints proximal to the ankle.  Using an observational study, data was collected on 95 children between the ages of 8-15 including foot posture using the arch height index (AHI), frequency of knee and hip/back pain and three dimensional gait analysis.

The results indicated the following:
1.  reduced arch height was associated with increased odds of knee symptoms and hip/back symptoms.
2.  a flat foot posture was also significantly associated with a reduction in the second peak of the vertical ground reaction force which in turn affected late stance hip and knee moments.
3.  a reduced AHI was also associated with increased pelvic retraction and increased knee valgus in midstance.
4.  no kinematic and kinetic parameter associated with a flat foot posture related to increased proximal joint symptoms in the FF group.

The researchers concluded that children with a flatter foot posture are more likely to have pain or discomfort at the knee, hip and back; however, the reasons for this are unclear.

Read more about flat feet over at the DinoPT blog:  http://blog.dinopt.com/flat-feet-you-say/

Reference:  Kothari et al.  Are flexible flat feet associated with proximal joint problems in children? Gait & Posture. In press February 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2016.02.008

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