Flat Foot | An Overview of Flat Feet

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Flat Foot


Flat Foot

The arch of your foot is the area between your heel and the ball of your foot that is slightly curved. Early childhood is when children develop arches in their feet. However, some people develop flat feet instead.

Individuals who have flat feet, also known as fallen arches or pes planus, have no or an extremely low arch in their feet.

Flat feet can cause foot pain and make walking difficult if arches don't develop properly or collapse later in life (fallen arches).

Worried you might have flat feet or fallen arches?

Keep reading to learn more about flat feet causes, symptoms and how to get help.

flat feet medically reviewed

Flat Feet and Fallen Arches: What Causes Them?

Flat feet in adults can develop due to a number of factors, or even with no underlying condition. The following are the most common causes of flat feet:

  • An anomaly that has existed since birth.
  • Bones that have been broken or dislocated.
  • Inner foot tendons that have been stretched or torn.
  • The posterior tibial tendon (PTT), which runs from your lower leg to the centre of your arch, is damaged or inflamed.
  • Nerve issues

Other risk factors include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Ageing
  • Diabetes

Types of Fallen Arches or Flat Feet

developing flat feet

Whether you develop flat feet in adulthood or since childhood, they might cause issues. There are several types of flat feet, and knowing which one you have can make it easier to address when you see a licensed professional.

Flexible flat feet

This is the most common type. Here's how you can tell if you have flexible flat feet:

When you aren't standing, you can see the arches on your feet. But when you put weight on your feet, the arches disappear.

Flexible flatfoot develops during childhood or adolescence. It affects both feet and gets worse as you get older. The arches of the feet have tendons and ligaments that can stretch, rip, and enlarge if this condition is left unchecked.

Rigid flat feet

When standing or sitting, a person with rigid flat feet has no arches. This disorder usually begins in adolescence and worsens with age. Flatfoot can affect only one foot or both feet.

You may experience foot pain, and flexing the feet up and down or moving them side to side can be challenging.

Adult acquired flatfoot

The arch of the foot drops or collapses unexpectedly in adult-acquired flat foot (fallen arch). The foot turns outward as a result of the falling arch, which can be painful.

It's possible that the issue only affects one foot. Inflammation or a tear in the leg tendon that supports the arch (posterior tibial tendon) is the most prevalent cause.

Vertical talus

Vertical talus is a birth condition (congenital handicap) that prevents arches from developing in some infants. The talus bone in the ankle is positioned incorrectly. The foot's bottom looks like the bottom of a rocking chair. Rocker-bottom foot is another name for vertical talus.

Complications That Can Be Affected By Flat Feet

difficulty walking

Flat feet can contribute to or worsen symptoms in those who have other foot, ankle, or lower limb disorders.

Some examples are:

    Flat Feet and Fallen Arches Symptoms

    Many people have flat feet yet are unaware that they have them. Others, on the other hand, may suffer the following signs and symptoms:

    • Feet get tired quickly
    • You experience pain in the foot, especially in the arches and heels
    • The bottoms of your feet swell on the inner side
    • It's tough to move your feet in certain positions, such as standing on your toes.
    • Leg and back pain

    If you experience the following symptoms, please seek professional medical advice from your local podiatrist.

    How To Tell If You Have Flat Feet

    posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

    A simple way to tell if you have flat feet at home is by wetting your entire foot and stepping on a large piece of paper.

    A normal arch will show a wet imprint of the front, heel and side of the foot clearly.

    A flat foot arch will show a thicker imprint on the side of the foot. A non-existent arch might not even have a gap in between the front and heel of the foot.

    If you notice this, please seek professional help and proper diagnosis from foot and ankle surgeons at your local healthcare provider.

    Diagnosing and Managing Flat Feet

    Your podiatrist can diagnose you by reviewing your symptoms and observing how your arches look when you stand, sit, and walk. A referral for X-rays may be taken to examine your bone structure.

    If you have foot pain, stiffness, or other concerns, your healthcare physician may offer nonsurgical therapy such as prescription medical insoles. Only a small percentage of patients require surgery to correct rigid flat feet or issues with bones or tendons.

    The following are some of the treatments:

    • To relieve inflammation and reduce pain, the usual route of treatment is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), rest, and ice.
    • Physical therapy improves flexibility and mobility by doing stretching exercises and strengthening tight tendons and muscles.
    • Foot orthotics provide support to flat feet and prevents long-term damage if created and used appropriately.

    How Dr Foot Can Assist You


    Dr Foot has professional foot and ankle specialist that can conduct a physical assessment in a comfortable environment for you.

    We are able to diagnose your foot condition and curate a personalized management plan just for your needs.

    Remember, early treatment and prevention are better than waiting it out until it gets worse.

    Contact us today for your curated management plan!

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