Flat Feet (Pes Planus)

At A Glance:

Flat feet (pes planus) is a condition in which the arch of the foot has not fully developed, giving the foot a flattened appearance. Surgery may be considered for severe cases where flat feet are causing symptoms, but non-surgical methods are used to treat the majority of patients.


  • The pain inside the arch, heel or ankle.
  • Aching feet after walking long distances or standing for long periods of time.
  • Increased spraining of the ankle.
  • Stiff or numb feet.
  • Calluses on feet.
  • Feet lean in towards each other.
  • Shin splints.
  • Aching pain in the knee, hip or lower back.


Flat feet are normal in children aged 2-4 years old, as their arches are yet to develop. However, if tightening in the tendons and ligaments do not occur and an arch does not develop, it can lead to flat feet. Other than underdevelopment, flat feet are caused by:

  • Tarsal coalitions, abnormal stiff joints in the foot .
  • Accessory navicular bone .
  • Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
  • Cerebral palsy.
  • Muscular dystrophy.
  • Trauma to the foot .
  • Obesity.
  • Neuropathy.

Treatment Options

Nonsurgical methods to treat flat feet include:

  • Wearing spacious shoes with good arch support
  • Children under the age of 5 years old, who suffer from flat feet, can use corrective shoe inserts to treat flat feet or until their arches are fully developed.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Weight loss.
  • Orthotics (insoles) or heel padding cups may help support the arch and keep the foot in a neutral position.

If you have tried these methods, still suffer from foot pain and have problems with walking or running, surgical methods may be an option for you.

Surgical methods of treating flat feet include:

  • Flat foot surgery is an operation in which an arch will be created by your orthopaedic surgeon. This can either be achieved by lengthening the calcaneus on the outside of the foot or placing an implant, an arthrodesis screw, between the talus and calcaneus to keep the foot in a position with an arch. Flat foot surgery is only done in severe cases

Speak to your orthopaedic surgeon about your case and what surgical option may be best suited for you.

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