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What is flatfoot, and how is it treated?

Flatfeet

Flatfoot occurs when the arch on the inside of your foot is flattened, letting the entire sole of your foot to touch the floor when you stand up. Certain diseases can change foot structures which can cause flat feet. Overall foot structure is usually hereditary.

A flat foot is normal in infants and toddlers because their arches haven’t yet developed. Most people's arches develop throughout childhood, but some never develop.

Arches can also gradually fall over time. Years of wear and tear can weaken the tendon that runs along the inside of your ankle and helps support your arch. Age and weight are contributing factors.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the heel, arch, ankle, or along the outside of the foot.
  • “Rolled-in” ankle
  • Pain along the shin bone (shin splint)
  • General aching or fatigue in the foot or leg
  • Low back, hip or knee pain.

If your flatfeet are painful, your doctor might suggest:

  • A structurally supportive insert and shoe might be more comfortable for those with flatfeet.
  • Custom braces
  • Oral or topical anti-inflammatory medication
About Miki Matsuda DPM

Miki Matsuda, DPM, is a podiatrist with Ascension Medical Group in Wichita, Kansas.