Flat feet: Causes and Symptoms

Flat feet: Causes and Symptoms


Flat feet, also known as fallen arches, is a common foot condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Understanding its causes and symptoms is crucial in managing the condition and preventing further complications.

Section 1: What are Flat Feet?


Flat feet refer to a condition where the arches of the feet are collapsed, causing the entire foot to touch the ground when standing. This condition can be inherited or acquired over time due to factors such as aging, injury, and obesity. It is estimated that up to 30% of the population has flat feet.

Section 2: Causes of Flat Feet

The causes of flat feet can vary, and some of the common factors that contribute to this condition include:

Genetics: Flat feet can be inherited from parents, and research shows that the condition is more common in people with a family history of the condition.

Injury: Foot or ankle injuries, such as fractures or sprains, can cause the arches to collapse and result in flat feet.

Obesity: Excess body weight can put extra pressure on the feet, causing the arches to flatten over time.

Age: As people age, the tendons and ligaments in their feet may weaken, causing the arches to fall.

Pregnancy: The additional weight and hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to the development of flat feet.

Section 3: Symptoms of Flat Feet

The symptoms of flat feet can vary from person to person, and some common signs to look out for include:

Pain and discomfort in the feet, especially around the arches and heels.

Swelling along the inside of the ankle.

Difficulty standing on tiptoe or pushing off while walking or running.

Shoes that wear out quickly or unevenly.

Lower back, hip, and knee pain due to improper foot alignment.

Section 4: Identifying Flat Feet

Identifying flat feet is relatively easy, and some common ways to do so include:

Examining the feet for a visible arch when standing.

Observing the feet from the back to see if they roll inward.

Performing a wet foot test, where the person stands on a surface with wet feet, leaving an imprint of their foot.

If you suspect you have flat feet, it's crucial to seek medical attention to prevent further complications and discomfort.

Section 5: Diagnosis of Flat Feet

A healthcare professional can diagnose flat feet through a physical examination of the feet and an assessment of symptoms. In some cases, they may order imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans to determine the extent of the condition.

Treatment for flat feet can vary depending on the severity of the condition, and some options include:

Orthotic devices such as arch supports or custom insoles.

Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and improve foot function.

Surgery in severe cases where other treatments are not effective.


Flat feet can cause discomfort and affect daily activities, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, it is manageable. Understanding the causes and symptoms of flat feet is essential in seeking appropriate medical attention to prevent further complications. If you suspect you have flat feet, consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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