Flat Feet (pes planus)

Flat feet (pes planus) occur naturally in babies and is a deformity of the arches in the adult foot. Arches are formed as a child begins to walk and the foot muscles become stronger.  Children who are made to wear stiff shoes may not develop enough muscle required to create strong arches.

Most adults acquire flat feet by wearing shoes that do not allow adequate movement.  As an adult, the condition can become very painful and debilitating.  According to one study, at least 11% of people from age 18-25 will sufferer from this condition.

There are two primary types of flat feet known as the “supple” and “rigid”.  The supple flat foot is when you have an arch in your foot while sitting, but it flattens to the ground when you apply weight or stand up.  A rigid flat foot will remain flat against the ground even if no weight is applied.  Rigid flat feet are not very common and may not respond to corrective exercises.  Supple flat feet are the most common and can typically be corrected with specialized exercises over the course of several months.

There are instances where supple flat footedness cannot be corrected with exercise.  Those instances may include trauma that healed improperly or with a great degree of scar tissue or nerve damage, and disease that affects bone or other tissues of the foot (including neurological diseases and disorders).  You should always consult with your physician before trying new exercise for the purpose of resolving a medical condition.

If you are still reading this page because you are concerned that you have flat feet and want to learn everything you can on the subject, I’d recommend hopping over to a great website called: FixFlatFeet.com.  It’s packed with some of the most interesting things about the condition and was written by a reputable physical therapist.