American Academy of Pediatrics – Section on Orthopaedics and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America

View all recommendations from this society

February 12, 2018

Do not order custom orthotics or shoe inserts for a child with minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic flat feet.

Flexible flat feet are normal physiologic variants commonly found in children and adults. Unlike a painful or rigid flatfoot that requires further workup, if an arch is present when standing on tiptoe, the foot can be managed with observation or over-the-counter orthotics. The use of custom orthotic devices to provide support for the foot does not aid in the development of the arch.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) Evidence Based Medicine Committee and the Advocacy Committee worked together during 2014 and 2015 to develop five items in the practice of Pediatric Orthopaedics of tests or procedures that should not be done routinely. Approximately 20 members of these two committees participated in the process. Each surgeon, in a blinded fashion, submitted 5 items each from their practices and experience of tests or procedures that they found were commonly over-utilized. The items were tallied in order of number of times that item was listed by each surgeon. A total of 30 items were submitted. Both committees then agreed on final list of 5 items based of frequency of responses and importance of the condition. The Evidence Based Committee reviewed the appropriate literature to provide references and support for each item. The Executive Committee of the Orthopaedic Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reviewed the 5 listed items and provided further feedback. POSNA Board of Directors provided further feedback and voted on the final list. Various expert committees and sections of the AAP reviewed and approved the list. The AAP Executive Committee granted final approval of the list.


Wenger DR, Mauldin D, Speck G. Morgan D, Lieber RL. Corrective shoes and inserts as treatment for flexible flatfoot in infants and children. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1989 Jul;71(6):800-810.

Staheli LT, Chew DE, Corbett M. The longitudinal arch: A survey of eight hundred and eighty-two feet in normal children and adults. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1987 Mar;69(3):426-428.