DEAR DOCTOR K: At my son's 12-year well-child visit, his doctor said that he may have flexible flatfeet. What does that mean? Is it something that needs to be treated?
DEAR READER: A person is said to be flat-footed when the foot loses the gently curving arch on the inner side of the sole. That's why flatfeet sometimes are called "fallen arches." If the arch is flattened only when standing and returns when the foot is lifted off the ground, the condition is called flexible flatfoot. If the arch is never present, the condition is called rigid flatfoot. (I've put an illustration of flatfoot, below.) How can parents tell if they or their child have flatfeet?