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What is the treatment for flat feet for a 12 year old?

Q: My son is 12 years old and has flat feet. He was on cortisones two and a half years back. Weight gain started mostly after that. Can flat feet be cured by a foot orthopaedic aid like an elevated heel in the shoe at this age. The doctor says that he is developing an arch in the calf and thighs due to his flat feet and weight gain. What is the best treatment? Do I need to show my son to any neurologist? What are possible causes of weight gain?

A:A flat foot in your 12 year old son needs to be investigated, more so if it is painful. Broadly stating, only the flat feet which are causing symptoms would require attention, and the same which are flexible and painless only require observation. Orthotic devices and shoe inserts don't do anything dramatic for this latter group but would be supportive in the treatment of painful feet. The normal arch of the foot should develop by 8 years of age, roughly. It would be helpful to seek a neurologist's opinion to rule out any neural cause for the same. Appropriate X-rays and clinical assessment by an orthopaedic surgeon is needed to chalk out a suitable treatment. His weight gain would be best addressed by a pediatric endocrinologist.

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