CHICAGO (CBS) -- Your aching back, knee-problems and chronic hip pain may trace back to when you were a kid.
Turns out, having flat feet during adolescence can create much bigger health problems later in life. CBS 2's Mary Kay Kleist introduces us to a young patient who's taking a big step now to avoid more pain down the road.
Ten-year-old Sydney Richards is walking a little easier these days. But that wasn't always the case.
"My foot started hurting and then my knees and then my sides and everything," Sydney said.
Her father, Gordon Richards, said, "She'd say every once in a while, 'my ankle hurt, my knee hurt' and all that. A lot of that was just dismissed as you know like she was running and hurt herself or sprained her ankle."
He also noticed another change.
"The one thing that really stuck out was that she would be very fatigued and tired, like she'd want to sleep, a tremendous amount," he said.
Gordon Richards didn't realize his daughter's flat feet actually created stress on her body that just wore her out. Some doctors say, when corrected, the knee and hip pain actually go away.
Podiatrist Larry Kosova operated on Sydney's left foot in December. This month, he will work on her right foot.
Not all children with flat feet need surgery, but those with severe issues might.
"It's actually dislocation found outside of a joint that's actually causing the tendon not to fire and not to work properly and it doesn't hold up the arch properly with the arch and the tendon," Kosova said.
During surgery, a stent is put into a joint in the back of the foot.
With both stents in place, Sydney's feet will gradually form better arches, making life much easier.
Gordon Richards said: "I don't know what would exactly have happened in the future, but she could have had to have her knee replaced or her hips or what has basically changed her life. She's going to have a more fulfilling life than she would have had."
Sydney Richards said she wants to start running again.
Doctors say some of the warning signs include unusual weight gain, uneven wear on shoes, lack of interest in athletic activities, or consistent fatigue.
Some kids will complain of knee and hip pain. Talk to your child's pediatrician if you have concerns.
for more features.