Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Foot and Ankle Deformities Program

What is the Foot and Ankle Deformities Program?

The Foot and Ankle Deformities Program provides care for babies, children and teens with conditions that affect their feet or ankles. Some of these conditions may be present at birth (congenital). Others may develop later as your child grows. All can affect the way your child's foot or ankle works, feels or looks.

It's normal for feet and ankles to look different from child to child and from child to adult. It's also normal for the shape of your child's feet and ankles to change over time. For example, almost all children start out with flatfeet and develop arches later. If the differences or changes do not cause problems or are not expected to cause problems, they do not need treatment.

But if your child has pain or other symptoms or has trouble being active or fitting into shoes, treatment may help. For babies with congenital foot or ankle deformities, it's important to assess their condition and often to begin treatment right after birth.

The conditions we treat include accessory navicularcavus footcleft footclubfootflatfootmacrodactylypolydactylyskewfoottarsal coalitionvertical talus and others. We mainly see children who:

  • Have a congenital foot or ankle deformity
  • Have a painful foot or ankle problem that gets worse over time
  • Have been told by a doctor that they might need foot or ankle surgery
  • Are older than age 8 and have flatfoot that causes symptoms

How will the Foot and Ankle Deformities Program meet my needs?

Seattle Children's has experts who understand foot and ankle problems in children. 

Our providers do a careful assessment to learn about your child's foot and ankle structure and their exact symptoms to pinpoint the problem. Your child's body doesn't stop at their foot and ankle. That's why we look at the whole child, including their legs, spine, strength, movement and other features that might play a role in the deformity, such as nerve problems.

This allows us to choose the best treatment for your child - which might differ from the treatment for another child who has the same condition but different symptoms. Our approach is conservative. It may not involve surgery at all, or at least not at first.

Who's on the team?

Members of our Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team will treat your child's foot or ankle. Providers in the Foot and Ankle Deformities Program include: