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Children with flatfeet are frequently referred to pediatric orthopaedic clinics. Most of these patients are asymptomatic and require no treatment. Care must be taken to differentiate patients with flexible flatfeet from those with rigid deformity that may have underlying pathology and have need of treatment. Rigid flatfeet in infants may be attributable to a congenital vertical talus (CVT); whereas those in older children and adolescents may be due to an underlying tarsal coalition. We performed a review of the recent literature regarding evaluation and management of pediatric flatfeet to discuss new findings and suggest areas where further research is needed.
We searched the PubMed database for all papers related to the treatment of pediatric flatfoot, tarsal coalition, and CVT published from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2014, yielding 85 English language papers.
A total of 18 papers contributed new or interesting findings.
The pediatric flexible flatfoot (FFF) remains poorly defined, making the understanding, study, and treatment of the condition extremely difficult.Pediatric FFF is often unnecessarily treated. There is very little evidence for the efficacy of nonsurgical intervention to affect the shape of the foot or to influence potential long-term disability for children with FFF. The treatment of tarsal coalition remains challenging, but short-term and intermediate-term outcome studies are satisfactory, whereas long-term outcome studies are lacking. Management of the associated flatfoot deformity may be as important as management of the coalition itself. The management of CVT is still evolving; however, early results of less invasive treatment methods seem promising.