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Flat Feet


What Are Flat Feet?

Flat feet is a common type of foot shape in which the feet have very low or non-existent arches. Up to 30% of the population has flat feet.
Your feet have three arches:
  • The medial arch, which runs along the inner edge of your foot
  • The lateral arch, which runs along the outer edge of your foot
  • The transverse arch, which runs across the width of your foot
These arches are made up of a complex structure of bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons that allow your feet to support your entire body weight when upright. While walking or running, your arches not only keep you upright but also have the job of absorbing the force, or “shock”, exerted on your feet when they make contact with the ground and harnessing this ground reaction force to propel you forward.
Since [Force] = [Mass] x [Acceleration], the force exerted on your body is higher during locomotion than when standing still. This means that every time you take a step or stride, the arches can be tasked with supporting up to seven times your body weight. Over the course of a day, your arches can be tasked with transporting hundreds or thousands of tonnes.
The curve of the arch allows the shock that your feet absorb to be equally distributed to the forefoot and rearfoot. However, if the curve of your arches is too low, the weight of the body cannot be unevenly distributed while standing, walking, and running. As a result, other parts of your body bear the force instead, which can put persistent stress on your toes, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back.
In addition to causing pain and discomfort, flat feet can make you more susceptible to certain foot conditions:

What Are The Symptoms Of Flat Feet?

Low arches can negatively affect your foot mechanics. This can cause symptoms including:
  • Foot pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Overpronation (feet roll excessively inward while walking or running)
Flat feet can also be asymptomatic.
Risk Factors

What Can Cause Flat Feet?

Certain risk factors may increase your chances of getting a flat foot:

  • Having a hypermobile or hyperflexible foot
  • Poor foot mechanics, such as overpronation leading to muscle imbalance
  • Arthritic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Genetics – Flat feet may run in the family
  • Overuse injury, damage, or dysfunction of the posterior tibial tendon (PTTD)
  • Obesity

How Do I Prevent Flat Feet?

Although prevention is difficult, routine foot and lower limb stretches can help to strengthen muscles and reduce the risk of damage.

  • Calf stretches and calf raises
  • Ankle stretches (against resistance)
    • Inversion
      • Motion of turning the sole of your foot toward the midline of your body
    • Eversion
      • Motion of turning the sole of your foot away from the midline of your body
    • Dorsiflexion
      • Motion of lifting your foot upward toward the shin
    • Plantarflexion
      • Motion of lifting your foot downward toward the calf
  • Plantar fascia stretches
    • Toe curls
    • Toe extensions

How Do I Treat Flat Feet?

Treatment for pain and complications resulting from flat feet may include:
  • Footwear with interior arch support
  • Motion control and stability shoes that help correct overpronation
  • Properly fitted best custom orthotics or orthopedic shoes
  • Modified insoles
  • Avoiding shoes with flat or unstructured soles, such as flip-flops and ballet flats

To schedule best foot care treatment appointment with our licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists), use the booking form below or call 416-769-FEET(3338).

Our Toronto foot clinic is open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm, Saturdays 10am-4pm. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our Foot clinic.

Articles about Flat Feet by Feet First Clinic

Book an appointment for flat feet

You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or contact the clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).