Flatfeet is a condition that occurs when the inside arch of the foot disappears. It allows the entire bottom of the foot to touch the ground when a person is standing.
Usually, flatfeet don’t cause any pain. The condition may occur during childhood when the arches that normally form in the foot as a child grows fail to develop. Other cases of flatfeet are caused by injuries or by the normal degenerative changes associated with aging.
In some cases, flatfeet can cause problems with the knees and ankles. It occurs because the condition can disrupt the normal alignment of the legs. If a person doesn’t have ankle or knee pain associated with flatfeet, usually no treatment is needed.
Infant and toddlers normally have flatfeet. They do so because the arch of the foot has not yet formed. In most people, the foot’s arch develops during childhood, but some people’s feet never form arches. Some people who don’t have arches in their feet never have problems, and flatfeet are considered a normal type of foot variation.
Over the years, normal wear and tear damage to the body’s tendons causes them to weaken. For example, if the tendon located on the inner aspect of the ankle that provides support to the arch of the foot weakens, the arch of the foot can “fall” and cause flatfeet.
Flatfeet risk factors
Certain factors increase a person’s risk for developing flatfeet. These include:
- Traumatic injury of the ankle or foot
- Being overweight or obese
- Rheumatoid arthritis