Flatfeet is a condition of the foot where the arch appears to collapse. In medical terminology, we refer to this as pes planus or as an overpronated foot type. There are two main types of flatfeet: flexible and rigid. Flexible flatfeet typically present in childhood and progress with age and can become rigid. When a foot is described as a flexible flatfoot this means that the arch flattens when a person is standing and bearing weight but the curvature of the arch returns at rest. When a flatfoot is described as rigid, this means the arch is collapsed with weight bearing and at rest.
- Visible flattening/collapsing of the arch
- Pain in the arches of the feet especially with extended walking or standing
- Feet feeling overall tired/fatigued
- Inability to walk or run long distances
- Heel pain with extended weight bearing
- Possible knee/hip/lower back pain
- Possible development of other deformities such as hammertoes and bunions
- Shin splints
- Increased wear noted to the inside of your shoes
- Many children are born with flatfeet, but they outgrow this as the foot continues to develop. However, sometimes the flatfeet continue to progress due to foot structure.
- Tendon weakness/imbalance
We always start with nonsurgical treatment options whether child or adult. Typically, symptoms can be managed and improved with conservative treatment. This includes:
- Orthotics (custom arch inserts) to provide support to your arches
- Possible bracing if the ankle is affected
- If weight plays a role then weight loss/diet modifications may be necessary
- Recommend supportive shoes for your foot type
- Physical therapy is sometimes necessary to help strengthen tendons/musculature
- Possible medication for pain relief
- Activity modifications
If conservative treatment fails for severe deformities, then surgical intervention may be necessary. There are a variety of surgical techniques depending on the anatomy of your foot, age, and activity levels. For adults this may involve surgery on the bones of the foot and possibly the tendons. For children, we typically use an implant to raise the arch to avoid any bone work as children develop.
If you are having foot pain and think it may be due to flatfeet, click HERE to schedule your appointment at Star Foot and Ankle Specialists.