Dr. Shakti Swaroop


Flat Feet- Types, Causes & Treatment

Flat Feet: Types, Causes & Treatment

What are flat feet?

Flat feet may cause one or both feet to lie flat on the floor, resulting in low or no arches. Flat feet may also cause hip, knee, and ankle pain while standing, walking, and running, as well as poorly aligned bodies.

How do flat feet develop?

Every human foot has 33 joints that hold 26 different bones together, as well as over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Arches increase the spring in your stride and distribute your weight across your feet and legs.

Your arch structure determines how you walk. Arches must be strong and able to absorb weight while accommodating various surfaces. You roll your feet inward when standing or walking if you have flat feet. 

This is known as overpronation, and it can also cause your feet to turn outward. These are usually genetic or due to excessive laxity of ligaments.

Flat feet are common in children, but they can also develop in adulthood. A wide range of symptoms, depending on the degree of the condition can be present for people with flat feet.

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Types of flat feet

There are primarily two categories of flat foot issues:

Rigid flat foot

A person with rigid flat feet has no arch regardless of whether they put weight on their feet or not. This condition affects children and can develop in adults.

Symptoms of flat feet

Foot soreness is the main sign of flat feet. This can occur as a result of overworked muscles and over stretched ligaments.

Flat feet cause unusual load on the knees and hips which can cause pain in these joints also. These strains occur when the ankle rotates inward.

Pain, and sometimes swelling and stiffness, most commonly affect the following parts of the body:

  • ankle
  • arch of the foot
  • calf
  • knee
  • hip
  • lower back

Flat feet can also cause uneven weight distribution. This can cause shoes to wear unevenly or faster than usual, especially on one side, which can lead to further injuries. Affected people may have difficulty in walking and running.


Some people with flat feet can improve with shoe modification and exercise. Those without symptoms usually do not need treatment. If flat feet are causing pain, supportive, well-fitting shoes can help. 


For those with other foot, ankle, or lower extremity problems, flat feet may contribute to them or make their condition worse.

Examples include:

  • Achilles tightness
  • Arthritis in the foot
  • Bunions / Hammer toe
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Spring ligament tears
  • Posterior tibial tendonitis or tear
  • Shin splints



Flat feet are common in adults and children, and they are often associated with walking problems and foot pain. There are many reasons why flat feet occur, and they are not always painful or symptomatic but need treatment when painful and hampering day to day life.

It is common in children but usually disappears by adulthood. Pain or other problems may require treatment if they affect a person’s early life. Foot braces and anti-inflammatory drugs are typical treatments. In certain instances, surgery might be required specially in adults with pain and rarely in children with symptoms.