Patient Education


Flatfoot is a foot deformity involving the arch of the foot, where the entire foot rests on the ground when standing, rather than the foot having a normal mid-foot rise. Flatfoot may result from the foot’s arch failing to develop properly during childhood, when standing and walking begin. It can also result from the foot’s arch collapsing over time or due to an injury or other condition.

What Are Some Causes of Flatfoot?

  • Abnormal childhood development of the foot arch, once standing and walking begin
  • Heredity (parents have flatfoot)
  • Injury or trauma
  • Foot arch that has gradually collapsed over time as a result of aging, weight gain due to pregnancy or obesity, or conditions such as arthritis

What Are Symptoms of Flatfoot?

Commonly, the condition of flatfoot causes no symptoms or pain, but the following indications may develop over time:

  • Pain in the foot, ankle, and/ or lower leg area, particularly in the middle of the foot
  • Lack of foot flexibility
  • Localized swelling

How Is Flatfoot Treated?

Since most cases of flatfoot do not result in pain, treatment may not be necessary; however, if pain and stiffness occur, the following treatments may be advised:

  • Rest and stretch the area
  • Participate in physical therapy
  • Wear arch supports, foot braces, and/or supportive tape
  • Ice the area
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications on a temporary basis (ask your doctor first)

In some people, flatfoot can create an inclination to suffer from painful progressive flatfoot, or tibialis posterior tendinitis. This occurs when the tendon of the tibialis posterior is injured, causing inflammation, overstretching, or tearing. This condition, also called adult-acquired flatfoot, can cause chronic pain and may become disabling if not properly treated.