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Flat feet: causes, symptoms, types and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

A flat foot is one of the most frequent podiatric conditions; it occurs when there is no plantar arch. Therefore the foot is seen as flat when stepping on and even, in some cases, when lifting it.

The foot’s arch develops during our first years of life as the initial fatty tissue in that area disappears. Due to this, it is that all children between 2 and 3 years old have dull skin; however, around five years, the presence of the plantar vault should already be noticed, although about 20% of the population will never develop it, counting on what is known as flat feet.

In general terms, flat feet are not a problem and should not present symptoms or discomfort. However, there are cases in which the lack of arch causes pain; at this point, it is essential to go to a podiatrist for effective treatment. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain everything about this topic and discover the causes, symptoms, and treatment of flat feet if this condition causes you discomfort.

Flatfoot types

Flat feet have become a common condition that, in general terms, does not cause significant discomfort. However, everything will depend on the type, the impact it has on the joints, the amount of physical activity that the person in question performs, and also the type of footwear used frequently.

The types of flat feet are:

  • Flexible Flatfoot: it is the most common type; it occurs when the person has an arch once the foot is not resting on the ground, but when it is stepped on, it flattens, leaving it entirely without a plantar arch. It occurs during childhood, and as the years go by, the problem worsens, leading to inflammation in the arch tendons, tears, and injuries over time.
  • Rigid Flatfoot: this is the case in which there is no plantar arch, neither with the foot resting on the ground nor when it is raised. It is caused by an abnormal union in the bones of the foot, which can lead over time to a painful flat foot that is important to care for and treat appropriately.

Symptoms of flat feet

In general terms, Flatfoot is a condition that does not cause pain in the foot; however, children with rigid Flatfoot may complain of discomfort such as:

  • Foot cramps that can extend to the knee.
  • Difficulty performing certain physical activities.
  • Little sports resistance compared to its peers.

In this type of case, the presence of other problems such as the heel tilting out or difficulties in choosing or feeling comfortable with shoes is evident.

People with flexible flat feet do not usually show symptoms; however, after long walks or physical activity, their feet can feel very tired. After a correct rest, these discomforts will pass.


Flexible Flatfoot does not usually present complications beyond fatigue after physical activity and occasional pain. In some cases, this condition can increase the possibility of long-term arch tendon injuries. It is essential in these cases to always wear appropriate shoes for the physical activity that we perform, avoid stiff-soled shoes and conduct a physical activity without exceeding certain impact sports, such as running.

In the case of rigid Flatfoot, depending on the type of abnormality in the bones of the foot, complications such as:

  • Chronic pain.
  • Deformation in the affected foot.
  • Problems are moving the ankle.

Given this condition, it is essential to consult a podiatrist. The discomfort can appear from childhood, so if the affected person is a child, it is advisable to visit a professional to find the most appropriate treatment.

Treatments for this condition

If you suffer from flat feet but do not present pain or discomfort in the area, then this condition does not warrant any treatment. When you suffer from flexible Flatfoot and some pain and fatigue, it is essential to turn to a podiatrist. The specialist, after a review, may recommend:

  • The use of custom-made insoles will help support the arch and reduce discomfort.
  • Orthopedic or special shoes for flat feet.

In the case of rigid Flatfoot, the treatment will depend on the type of bone abnormality that exists it usually can consist of:

  • The use of splints to try to correct the condition.
  • In more severe cases, surgery can be used, but this will depend directly on a specialist’s opinion.

In many cases, anti-inflammatories and analgesics will also help combat the pain and discomfort that may arise.

Recommendations for those who suffer from flat feet

Although flat feet cannot be avoided, some recommendations can help strengthen the areas’ muscles, mitigate pain and improve the quality of life of those who have discomfort from this condition. That is why from FastlyHealwe suggest you:

  • Always wear shoes with a flexible sole and with good support and cushioning. Stiff or very flat shoes will only increase fatigue and foot discomfort.
  • Going barefoot around the house or on uneven terrain such as sand will help strengthen the muscles in this area, improving discomfort.
  • Walking on tiptoe is also a good exercise for this. However, it is not recommended in case of obesity or overweight.
  • Rolling and grabbing objects with the toes is an ideal podiatric exercise for this condition, helping to strengthen the area significantly.
  • If you are obese or overweight, losing weight can reduce the discomfort in the sole.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Flatfoot: causes, symptoms, types, and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, Joints, and Muscles.

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