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PURPOSE: The effect of paediatric flexible flatfeet (PFF) on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) has not been investigated. In this prospective cross-sectional study, the HRQOL of children with PFF was compared to those with typically developing feet (TDF) using two validated measures. We hypothesised that reduced HRQOL would be observed in children with PFF. The reliability of parents' perceptions of their child's symptoms was also investigated. METHODS: 48 children with PFF and 47 with TDF between the ages of 8 and 15 completed The Oxford Ankle Foot Questionnaire for Children (OxAFQ-C) and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL™ 4.0). Proxy questionnaires were also completed. Reliability of parent and child questionnaire scores was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Student's t test. Differences between HRQOL between PFF and TDF were assessed using the Student's t test. RESULTS: ICCs overall demonstrated good reliability between parent and child questionnaire domain scores. There was a tendency for parents to overestimate the impairment of the child in the PFF group. PFF children demonstrated clinically significant decreased HRQOL than TDF children. This was most marked in the physical domain scores. CONCLUSION: Although parents may overestimate their child's impairment, children with PFF still have significantly impaired HRQOL when compared to TDF children. The impairment can be as severe, or worse, than published HRQOL for acutely and chronically unwell children. As such, PFF cannot be regarded as just a benign normal variant. The management of PFF should involve consideration of the symptom profile and HRQOL. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II.

Original publication




Journal article


J child orthop

Publication Date





489 - 496