What is a Flat Foot?
Flat foot is a condition where the longitudinal arch or instep of the foot collapses and comes in contact with the ground. In infants and toddlers, the longitudinal arch is not developed and flat feet are normal. In some individuals, the longitudinal arch never develops.
Most flat feet do not cause pain or other problems. Flat feet may be associated with pronation, a leaning inward of the ankle bones toward the center line.
Symptoms of a Flat Foot
Some common symptoms of a flat foot are:
A flat look to one or both of your feet
Uneven shoe wear and collapse of your shoe toward the inside of your flat foot
Lower leg pain
Pain on the inside of your ankle
Swelling along the inside of your ankle
What Causes a Flat Foot?
Painful flat feet in children may be caused by a condition called tarsal coalition. Tarsal coalition is a condition where two or more of the bones in the foot fuse together, limiting motion and often leading to a flat foot.
Flat feet can also be caused by fallen arches. Years of wear and tear can weaken the tendon that is responsible for shaping the arch. Fallen arches can also be caused by injury such as inflammation of the tendons in the foot.
Can a Flat Foot be Treated?
Yes. However, flexible flat feet that are painless do not require treatment. If flat feet cause pain, an evaluation with a health care provider is needed to determine the cause. The exact treatment will depend on the cause of the flat feet. Some common treatments are: shoe inserts, ankle braces, rest, surgery, pain medication, and anti-inflammatory medication.
Complications of a Flat Foot
In some cases, complications may occur. Common complications of having flat feet are:
Inflammation and pain in the ligaments in the soles of your feet
Achilles and posterior tibial tendinitis
Stress fractures in your lower leg