The flat foot refers to a change in shape of the foot which does not have a normal arc standing.
Flat feet are a common condition. The condition is common in infants and young children.
Flat feet occur because the tissues that support the joints in the foot (called tendons) are loose.
As children grow, tissues tighten and form an arch, which occurs when the child is 2 or 3 years old. Most people have normal arches as adults. However, it is possible that in some people this arch never formed.
The aging, injury or disease can cause damage to the tendons and cause flat feet to develop in a person who has already been formed arches. This type of flatfoot can only occur on one side.
Rarely, painful flat feet in children can be caused by a condition in which two or more bones in the foot grow together or fuse. This condition is called tarsal coalition.
Most flat feet do not cause pain or other problems.
Children can have foot pain, ankle or lower leg and should be evaluated by a doctor if this occurs.
Symptoms in adults may include arched feet or tired after long periods of standing or playing sports.
Flat feet do not require treatment unless they are causing pain or trouble walking.
In older children and adults, flexible flat feet are painless and cause no trouble walking do not need further treatment.
If you have pain due to flexible flat feet, the following can help:
Rigid flat feet or painful require evaluation by a physician and treatment depends on the cause.
In tarsal coalition, treatment starts with rest and possibly a cast. If the pain does not improve, surgery may be necessary.
In more severe cases, surgery may be needed to:
Flat feet in older adults can be treated with painkillers, braces and sometimes surgery.