Purpose of review
Myths, widely held but false or unproven beliefs, exist in pediatric orthopedics, with the most common examples related to flexible flatfeet, in-toeing/out-toeing, W-sitting, and toe-walking. Concerns regarding these findings and suggested treatments, unfounded in science, may be passed along verbally or published through various media, without citation. The current review investigates these myths and provides up to date recommendations on diagnosis and treatment (or lack of necessary treatment) for these common pediatric orthopedic findings.
Orthotics used in childhood do not alter foot development for flexible flatfeet. W-sitting is not associated with developmental dysplasia of the hip, and there is no scientific evidence to support that it leads to contractures, hip dislocations, or functional deficits.
Misinformation about normal variants of growth in childhood and suggested treatments are rampant and can be found published through various media without citation, as supportive scientific studies do not exist or existing studies refute the claims. Flexible flatfeet, in-toeing/out-toeing, W-sitting, and toe-walking typically improve throughout childhood without intervention. Physical therapy, orthotics and bracing have not been proven effective. Treatment is required in rare scenarios and should be directed by the orthopedic surgeon.