Flat Feet Explained

Posted on: 23 March 2015


Flat feet, also known as fallen arches, is a condition that causes you to have no gap between the arch of your foot and the ground. This can lead to changes in the way you walk or stand and put too much pressure on the muscles, joints and ligaments in your feet and lower legs. Here's what you need to know about flat feet:


There's not always a clear reason for having flat feet, but common causes include:

  • Genetic abnormality
  • Previously broken or dislocated bones in one or both of your feet
  • Stretched or torn tendons
  • Being overweight, which can put too much pressure on your feet
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, which can damage joints and alter the alignment of your feet


You may experience any of the following symptoms if you have flat feet:

  • Lower leg pain when standing
  • Swelling on the bottom of your feet
  • Your feet tire quickly
  • The bottom of your feet ache after walking or standing for short periods of time


Your podiatrist will diagnose flat feet by visually inspecting your feet and observing you standing and walking. They will explore your health history to determine if you have an illness or previous injury that could be responsible for the fallen arches in your feet. Additionally, they may test the strength of the muscles in your feet by applying gentle pressure, which will help them determine if your muscles have been damaged.


Treatment will depend on your symptoms and the identifying cause of your fallen arches, but may include anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling, and you may be asked to rest your feet for a period of time to allow the muscles to recover from the stress they have been under. If you are overweight, your podiatrist may refer you to a dietician, and if arthritis is causing your flat feet, your rheumatologist may suggest corticosteroid injections.

You podiatrist can provide you with custom-made orthotic insoles. They will measure your feet and write you a prescription for insoles that support your arches. Providing the arches of your feet with extra support will take the pressure off the muscles, joints and ligaments in your feet and ensure your feet are correctly aligned. Once you get your custom-made insoles, the podiatrist will follow-up with you to ensure they fit well.

If you're experiencing pain in your feet or lower legs, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist like Walk Without Pain for a thorough examination.