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What is Flat Foot?

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What is Flat Foot?

Flat foot, also known as pes planus, is a condition in which the arch of the foot collapses, causing the entire sole of the foot to come into contact with the ground. This condition is relatively common and can affect people of all ages, although it is more commonly seen in children and adolescents.

There are two types of flat foot: flexible and rigid. Flexible flat foot is the most common type and occurs when the arch of the foot collapses when weight is placed on it, but returns to its normal position when the weight is lifted. Rigid flat foot, on the other hand, is a more severe form of the condition in which the arch does not return to its normal position even when weight is lifted.

Causes of Flat Foot

Flat foot can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, injury, and certain medical conditions. In some cases, the condition may be present at birth, while in others it may develop later in life.

Genetics: Flat foot can be inherited from one or both parents. If one or both parents have flat feet, there is a higher chance that their children will also have the condition.

Injury: Flat foot can also be caused by injury to the foot or ankle. This can include sprains, fractures, and other types of trauma.

Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can also contribute to the development of flat foot. These include arthritis, diabetes, and obesity.

Symptoms of Flat Foot

The symptoms of flat foot can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some people may experience no symptoms at all, while others may experience pain and discomfort in the feet, ankles, and legs.

Common symptoms of flat foot include:

– Pain or discomfort in the feet, ankles, or legs
– Tired or achy feet
– Swelling in the feet or ankles
– Difficulty standing on tiptoe
– Uneven shoe wear
– Flat foot may also cause problems with balance and stability, making it more difficult to walk or run.

Diagnosis of Flat Foot

Flat foot can be diagnosed through a physical examination by a doctor or podiatrist. During the exam, the doctor will look for signs of a collapsed arch, such as the entire sole of the foot touching the ground when standing.

In some cases, imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.

Treatment of Flat Foot

Treatment for flat foot depends on the severity of the condition and the symptoms experienced by the patient. In some cases, no treatment may be necessary if the patient is not experiencing any pain or discomfort.

For those who do experience symptoms, treatment options may include:

– Orthotics: Custom-made shoe inserts can help support the arch of the foot and reduce pain and discomfort.
– Physical therapy: Exercises and stretches can help strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility in the feet and ankles.
– Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
– Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the position of the bones and restore the arch of the foot.

Prevention of Flat Foot

While flat foot cannot always be prevented, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the condition. These include:

– Maintaining a healthy weight: Excess weight can put extra strain on the feet and increase the risk of developing flat foot.
– Wearing supportive shoes: Shoes with good arch support can help prevent the arch from collapsing.
– Stretching and exercising regularly: Strengthening the muscles in the feet and ankles can help prevent flat foot from developing.


Flat foot is a common condition that can cause pain and discomfort in the feet, ankles, and legs. While it cannot always be prevented, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the condition and to manage symptoms if they do occur. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet or ankles, it is important to see a doctor or podiatrist for an evaluation.

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