A guide to the management of paediatric pes planus

Aust J Gen Pract. 2020 May;49(5):245-249. doi: 10.31128/AJGP-09-19-5089.


Background: Flat foot (pes planus) describes a reduction or absence of the medial longitudinal arch (MLA) of the foot, with or without additional deformities of the foot and ankle. Flat feet are relatively common in childhood, affecting up to 14% of children. Flexible flat feet can be part of a normal developmental profile, and foot arches usually develop with age, although there is a wide range of normal variation. Up to 25% of the total population has a deficient MLA in at least one foot; therefore, it is likely a general practitioner (GP) will encounter this issue relatively frequently in their practice.

Objective: This article outlines a method for paediatric pes planus assessment and management. A multidisciplinary approach involving GPs, rehabilitation physicians, orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists, orthotists and podiatrists is discussed.

Discussion: Paediatric pes planus treatment has long been a contentious topic, with a lack of clarity in the literature regarding which children require treatment and the efficacy of intervention. However, there is increasing evidence that non-surgical interventions, such as orthoses and physiotherapy, may be beneficial for certain groups of children.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management
  • Flatfoot / diagnosis*
  • Flatfoot / therapy*
  • Foot Orthoses
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities