Flatfoot (pes planus) is a condition in which the longitudinal arch in the foot, which runs lengthwise along the sole of the foot, has not developed normally and is lowered or flattened out. One or both feet may be affected.
If you look at an adult foot from the inside you’ll usually notice an upward curve in the middle. This is called an arch. Several tendons in your foot and lower leg work together to form the arches in your foot.
When the tendons all pull with the proper force, your foot forms a moderate, normal arch. When tendons do not pull together properly, there is little to no arch. This is called flat foot or fallen arch.
Flatfoot may be an inherited condition or may be caused by an injury or condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, excessive weight or diabetes.
Treatment for flat feet and fallen arches depends on the severity and cause of the problem.
If flat feet cause no pain or other difficulties treatment is probably not needed. In other cases, your doctor may suggest one or more of these treatments:
- Rest and ice to relieve pain and reduce swelling
- Stretching exercises
- Pain relief medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
- Physical therapy
- Orthotic devices, shoe modifications, braces, or casts
- Injected medications to reduce inflammation, such as corticosteroids