23 Jul 2019

The term flat feet (pes planus) refers to the posture of the feet where there is a noticeable flattening or collapse of the arches. It is a postural deformity that may be flexible or rigid. Pes planus may be painless or contribute to foot pain as well as other painful conditions of the lower limb.

In most children, flat feet are considered normal up to the age of 6. If excessive flat foot continues into the primary school years and adolescence it may contribute to overuse pain or injuries due to poor foot function. In children flat feet can contribute to painful conditions such as growing pains, heel pain, arch pain and knee pain. Poor biomechanics caused by flat feet may also contribute to sporting injuries in growing children. If you are concerned about your child’s foot posture Sure Step Podiatry recommends a thorough biomechanical and gait assessment.

Flat feet in adults is most often caused by a condition known as posterior tibial dysfunction. It refers to the impaired ability of the posterior tibial tendon to support the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. Other causes may be tightness in the achilles or as a compensation for other limitations or even arthritis.  Flat feet can be a contributing factor in painful conditions such as heel pain, arch pain, bunions, metatarsalgia, shin splints and knee pain.

Sure Step Podiatry will assess for flat feet with a detailed biomechanical assessment including gait analysis. If pain is associated with running or sport, a running gait assessment will also be performed.

Treatment of flat feet will depend on the severity of the postural deformity and the symptoms. Treatment may include exercises and stretches, footwear change and insoles or foot orthoses.

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