Flat Foot

(Pes Planus; Pes Planovalgus; Fallen Arches)

Definition

Feet usually have an arch on the inside portion of the foot. A flat foot is a foot that has lost or never developed this arch. It is often associated with the lower part of the legs being angled outwardsMost flat feet are flexible. This type rarely causes problems and usually do not require treatment. Rigid flat feet can cause problems and are best treated.
Normal Foot Arch
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Causes

Infants and young children naturally have flat feet. The arch should develop over time. Sometimes, the arch does not develop. It is not always clear why this happens. Flat feet may develop because of:
  • Ruptured or damaged tendon that supports the arch
  • Medical conditions that affect muscles or nerves in the foot
  • Degenerative changes in certain foot joints
  • Ligament damage in the foot

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of flat feet include:
  • Family history
  • Diseases that cause muscle or nerve damage, such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or muscular dystrophy
  • Foot injuries
  • Conditions of the feet that can injure foot tissue such as osteoarthritis
  • Conditions present at birth, such as excess laxity of joint capsules and ligaments, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Obesity

Symptoms

Flat feet may not cause any symptoms at all. Rigid flat feet may cause:
  • Pain
  • Calluses, blisters, or skin redness on the inner side of the foot
  • A stiff foot
  • Weakness or numbness of the foot
  • Rapid wearing out of shoes—worn shoes lean in toward each other
  • Difficulty or pain with activities like running—in the foot, knee or hip

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