Obesity Linked To Flat Feet in Children

Last updated: 10-09-2020

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Obesity Linked To Flat Feet in Children

A new study out of King George’s Medical University suggests that over 90 percent of overweight or obese children express symptoms of flat feet.

The study based out of India examined nearly 400 children under the age of 12. 386 children were divided into two groups based on their body-mass index. Researchers uncovered that flat feet weren’t isolated to children with elevated body mass indexes, but the condition was much more common in overweight children.

“In kids with normal BMI, about 30 percent had flat foot,” said Professor Ajai Singh, head of the pediatric orthopaedic department at King George’s Medical University, who helped lead the study. “But in the abnormal BMI category, 90 percent of kids had flat foot.”
Grades of Flat Feet

For the study, researchers broke down cases of flat feet into three different grades. The first grade involved an arch of the sole that was smaller than the normal height, while a second grade involved cases of flat feet where no arch was present. A grade three flat foot involved situations where the arch of the foot was reversed and the bottom of the foot was actually convex, bending outward slightly.

“We found that 45 percent of kids had Grade 2 flat feet, while 43 percent had Grade 1 flat feet,” said Professor Singh. “The remaining 12 percent belonged to Grade 3.”

Previous studies have uncovered a connection between obesity and flat-footedness, but they’ve also noted that the problem can be reversed if it is identified at an early stage in life.

“In most of the cases, flat foot is reversible, while in the remaining, it is manageable,” the authors wrote. “If kids come to us by the time they are five or six, we can help them with exercises and interventions like silica pads to be worn inside their shoes.”

So if you notice that your child has flat feet, or if the pediatrician has suggested that your child has an elevated BMI, consider some lifestyle interventions to help alleviate the condition. Help them get regular exercise and make an effort to provide them with healthy meals. A flat arch can put abnormal pressure on a person’s foot, which can predispose them to other foot conditions. Like the authors said, take steps at an early stage to prevent it from becoming a bigger problem down the road.

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