You have flatfeet when the arch on the inside of your feet is flattened, allowing the entire sole of your foot to touch the floor when you stand up.
A common and usually painless condition, flatfeet may occur when the arches don’t develop during childhood. In other cases, flatfeet may develop after an injury or from the simple wear-and-tear stresses of age.
Flatfeet can sometimes contribute to problems in your ankles and knees because the condition can alter optimal alignment of your legs. If you aren’t experiencing any pain, no treatment is usually necessary for flatfeet.
If your flatfeet are painful, your podiatrist might suggest:
- Arch supports (orthotic devices). Over-the-counter arch supports may help relieve the pain caused by flatfeet. Or your doctor might suggest custom-designed arch supports, which are molded to the contours of your feet. Arch supports won’t cure flatfeet, but they often reduce symptoms.
- Stretching exercises. Some people with flatfeet also have a shortened Achilles tendon. Exercises to stretch this tendon may help.
- Proper shoe wear. A structurally supportive shoe may be better tolerated than sandals or shoes with minimal support.