Flat feet, or pes planus, is a common type of foot deformity. The arch in the foot simply never develops or it collapses over time. For people with flat feet, the entire sole of the foot lies flat on the ground when standing or walking.
Aside from arch supports, no treatment is usually necessary to address flat feet. There are always exceptions, so make sure to consult a physician if you are experiencing any pain.
Causes of flat feet
The arches in feet develop during childhood, so flat feet are normal in small children and toddlers. Some people simply never develop arches. Odds are that if one or both parents have flat feet, their children will have flat feet as well.
Arches can also fall naturally over time or collapse due to injury or trauma. The following factors can contribute to fallen arches:
- Injury to the foot and/or ankle.
- Normal wear and tear.
Flat feet symptoms
Flat feet are characterized by the absence of arches. The soles of the feet lie flat against the ground with no space beneath the mid foot area. Many people go through life with flat feet and experience no pain or discomfort; however, flat feet can sometimes contribute to ankle and knee pain. This is because flat feet can throw off the alignment of the legs.
Other symptoms of flat feet include:
- Foot pain, particularly in the mid foot.
- Inflexibility of the foot.
- Swelling near the ankle.
Flat feet treatment
There is no need to seek treatment for flat feet unless you are experiencing pain. Stiff and painful flat feet should be examined by a doctor. Treatment options can include rest, anti-inflammatory medication, stretching, arch supports, and foot or ankle braces.
These treatments do not offer a "cure" for flat feet, but they can help reduce some of the painful symptoms associated with this foot deformity.