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What is flat feet? | Symptoms | Treatment | Exercises

Updated: Mar 30

Flat feet is a condition when the arches of the foot collapse resulting in a postural deformity with the entire sole of the foot coming into complete or near-complete contact with the ground. The condition is also called pes planus or fallen arches. Approximately, 20-30 percent of the whole population has an arch that never develops.

The structure of the arch of your foot and the biomechanics of the lower leg has a functional relationship. An elastic and springy connection between the forefoot and the hindfoot is provided by the arch. This, in turn, helps the majority of the forces dissipate before the force reaches the long bones of the leg and thigh when incurs during weight-bearing of the foot.

Problems caused by flat feet

In general, individuals with flat feet do not feel having a normal arch when they are standing. This, in turn, can result in pain when they perform any extensive physical activity.

Note that, in some instances, flat feet can also be caused by injuries or illness, which results in problems with your walking, running, or standing for a long time.

What are the symptoms of flat feet or fallen arches?

In fact, although many people have flat feet, they notice no problems and do not need any kind of treatment. However, some individuals may experience the following problems which are the symptoms:

  1. Flat feet often tire easily

  2. Feeling painful or achy feet, particularly in the areas of the arches and as well as heels

  3. Having a swollen inside bottom of your feet

  4. Foot movement becomes difficult

  5. Having back and leg pain

Once you notice any of these symptoms, it means you should consult your physician.

Flat feet in children

Oftentimes, children and infants may have flat feet condition. In fact, however, the arch is usually there, yet it is still forming. As time passes the arch should grow normally. Sometimes you won’t be able to see the arch due to excess fat on an infant’s foot.

Therefore, if you notice a flat foot in a child, it does not mean that a person will have flat feel for a lifetime. Yet, if you know that the flat feels in children caused by any incorrect bone development, then you will need to see a doctor reveal the underlying cause.


Sometimes people with flat feel automatically align their limbs in a certain way that it prevents any visible symptoms. Therefore, when individuals are not experiencing any symptoms, then do not need any treatment.

However, in cases that flat feet cause pain, then you will need supportive, well-fitted shoes that can help. In addition, extra-wide-fitting shoes can be also worn for relief.

Oftentimes, the pressure on the arch and the pain may be relieved by fitted insoles and orthotics. However, please note that, while using these products will remove the symptoms, they can not provide a long-lasting solutions.

For individuals experiencing the problems caused by flat feet, physicians may advise resting until the symptoms are relieved. In addition, these people are also suggested to stay away from certain activities that can further develop the problem.

Also, the symptoms of flat feet can be minimized by the application of an insole and as well as certain pain relievers. This can particularly be beneficial for individuals suffering from arthritis or torn tendons. Yet, sometimes when these applications do not work out, patients may be required to undergo a surgical operation.

In some cases, obesity can also cause flat feet. In order to relieve the symptoms originating by being obese, these people need to lose weight. Physicaltherapy can also be implemented to correct flat feet.

Please note that, unless the flat feet is not caused by a bone deformation or a torn tendon, there is usually no need for surgery. Nevertheless, surgery may be advised by your doctor if there is chronic pain in your feet and have not relieved despite the measures you have taken to fix the problem.

Insoles for flat feet

You can relieve the pain in your feet that caused by flat feel using well-fitted shoes. If the feet roll too far inward, then utilizing fitted insoles, custom made orthotics or as well as custom-designed arch supports may remove pressure while decreasing pain. Note that, using these products you are only focusing on removing the symptoms which are not providing long-lasting benefits.

Exercises to do:

If you have diagnosed with flat feet, then you may want to perform some of the following exercises.

Heel stretching

  1. While standing with your hands resting on a wall keep one leg forward and the other leg extended behind you. Then try to press both heels firmly into the floor. Bend your front leg and push yourself into the wall while feeling a stretch in your back leg and Achilles tendon. You need to hold this position for about 30 seconds. Perform this exercise 4 times for each side.

Tennis ball rolls

  1. While having a tennis ball under your right foot sit on a chair. Keep your posture straight while rolling the ball under your foot. Keep your focus on the arch. You will need to perform this exercise for 2-3 minutes.

What do you do if you have flat feet?

If you have experienced the condition mentioned above then you may apply some changes in your daily lifestyle as well as trying some home remedies. When you experience the pain you may want to avoid certain activities that might worsen the pain.

You will need to abandon intense physical activities or workouts like running and jumping by replacing them with some softer variations like walking or swimming. You can also relieve the pain by intaking pain relievers. Also, if you are obese, you will need to consider to lost some weight to reduce the stress on your feet.

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