Having flat feet is a postural deformity, and means your feet have no arches and press flat against the ground. It is estimated 30 percent of the population have this condition in either one, or both of their feet.
The majority of people with flat feet don’t experience any symptoms. But you may need to seek medical help if they cause you pain, stiffness or numbness anywhere in the lower legs or feet, or if you find your feet roll over inwards too much, as this can lead to injuries.
The main cause of flat feet is genetic, with many people inheriting them from their parents. It can also be the result of the feet failing to form properly before birth. Some systemic conditions can manifest with flat feet, these are mainly connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danos syndrome and joint hypermobility syndrome. It can also be caused by the connective tissue in the foot becoming inflamed as a result of overuse, injury, obesity or rheumatoid arthritis.
Flat feet only need to be treated if they are causing you pain, discomfort or are damaging your long-term health. Your GP or podiatrist may recommend non-surgical treatment first, including wearing supportive shoes and/or orthotics, and losing weight appropriately. Physiotherapy may also help you relieve some of the discomfort, and prevent you from rolling your foot.
Surgery may be necessary if other treatments haven’t helped, or if altering the bone is the best way to treat your symptoms. The procedure used will vary on the type of foot abnormality you have, be it with particular bones or the connective tissue.
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Doctify Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. In the event of an emergency, please call 999 for immediate assistance.