Patient Education

Flatfoot

Flatfoot is a deformity involving the arch of the foot, where the entire foot rests on the ground when standing, rather than the foot having a normal mid-foot rise. Flatfoot may result from the foot’s arch failing to develop properly during childhood, when standing and walking begin. It can also result from the foot’s arch collapsing over time or due to an injury or other condition.

What Are Some Causes of Flatfoot?

  • Abnormal childhood development of the foot arch, once standing and walking begin
  • Heredity (parents have flatfoot)
  • Injury or trauma
  • Foot arch that has gradually collapsed over time as a result of aging, weight gain due to pregnancy or obesity, or conditions such as arthritis.

What Are Symptoms of Flatfoot?

  • Commonly, the condition of flatfoot causes no symptoms or pain, but the following may develop over time:
  • Pain in the foot, ankle, and/ or lower leg area, particularly in the middle of the foot
  • Lack of foot flexibility
  • Localized swelling

How Is Flatfoot Treated?

  • Since many cases of flatfoot do not present with pain, some doctors believe treatment may not be
  • necessary; however, pain and stiffness often occur. The following treatments may be advised:
  • Rest and stretch the area
  • Participate in physical therapy
  • Wear arch supports, foot braces, custom orthotics, and/or supportive tape
  • Ice the area
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications on a temporary basis (ask your doctor first)

In some people, flatfoot can progress to a painful progressive deformity with tibialis posterior tendinitis. This occurs when the tendon of the tibialis posterior is injured, causing inflammation, overstretching, or tearing. This condition, also called adult-acquired flatfoot. It can cause chronic pain and may become disabling if not properly treated.

 

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