Flat foot - WatsonsHealth


When the whole sole of the foot is in touch or near contact with the ground, it’s a flat foot. In this condition, there may be no arch to the foot. Flatfoot is a common disorder. It is a complicated deformity, and there are types that may lead to disability. Flat feet also are referred to as pes planus, posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, and fallen arches.


Flexible flatfoot

This is also called “pediatric flatfoot” because it is first obvious during the formative years. Congenital or flatfoot (talipes planovalgus) is common in children. Nearly all babies appear to have flat feet due to the fat pads on the soles of their feet, and that the arch does no longer grow until 5 or 6 years of age.

Flexible flatfoot is typically in both feet and posterior tibial tendon dysfunction or adult-acquired flatfoot can occur in one or both feet.

Rigid flatfoot

This form of flatfoot develops because of the weakening of the tibialis posterior muscle tendon, which helps shape the foot arch. It is a situation that ends in flattening of the arch and rolling in of the ankle. It is a deformity with early symptoms of pain and swelling at the internal arch of the foot that progress to the outside of the foot under the ankle. It also results in arthritis of the foot and ankle joints.



A flat foot can cause no signs. Symptoms of flat foot consist of pain that may be in the internal arch, heel, or ankle and at the outer part of foot below the ankle. Flattening of the arch can lead to rolling in of the foot and ankle and tilting outward of the heel. Flatfoot can also cause shin pain (shin splints), and pain of the knee, hip, and/or lower back.

The health care provider will ask you to stand on your toes. If an arch forms, the flat foot is called flexible. You will not need any tests or treatment.

If the arch does not form with toe-standing (called rigid flat feet), or if there is pain, other tests may be needed, including:

  • CT scan to look at the bones in the foot
  • MRI scan to look at the tendons in the foot
  • X-ray of the foot

Related Articles


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital heart defect that affects the [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Trichinosis, also known as trichinellosis, is a parasitic infection caused by [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Trigeminal neuralgia is a neurological condition characterized by severe facial pain. [...]