It is natural for young children to have flat feet until they are three years old, so there is no reason to worry. The foot’s longitudinal arch develops with normal bone and muscle growth. However, when this does not happen, an arch support is generally used inside the child’s shoe to support the foot, correct the lack of the longitudinal arch and improve motory function.
An arch support is, therefore, a medical aid and should only be used when flat feet have been properly diagnosed. It cannot be placed inside all children’s shoes as many parents expect. An arch support should, in fact, take into consideration the characteristics of the individual’s feet, which is why various measurements and a mould of the foot are needed to properly create one.
The use of prefabricated or standard-size arch supports are now discouraged by orthopedists. Moreover, in periods of rapid growth of the child’s feet, an arch support must be checked periodically every 4/6 months to make sure it is still effective. Finally, in order to regain functional use, today’s guidelines recommend an exercise programme in addition to using an arch support for flat feet correction.
Children’s shoes, except when expressly requested as a result of serious orthopedic disorders, must not have a structured arch support but rather a soft leather insole to allow children to rest their feet comfortably.
A leather insole is always preferable for its functional similarity to the epidermis of the human foot.