Flat feet are a common condition leading to pain in kids and adults. In infants and toddlers, prior to walking, the arch is not developed, and flat feet are normal. The arch continues to develop throughout childhood, and by adulthood most people have developed normal arches.
Flat feet are generally associated with pronation, a leaning inward of the ankle bones toward the center line. Shoes of children who pronate, when placed side by side, will lean toward each other.
Many people with flat feet do not experience pain or other problems. However, when pain in the foot, ankle, or lower leg does occur, especially in children, the feet should be evaluated.
Painful progressively worsening flatfoot can lead to tendonitis and arthritis of the foot and ankle. Because of the abnormal position of the foot tendons and ligaments becomes stretched or torn and the joints can wear out. Left untreated, it may lead to severe disability and chronic pain.
Supportive shoes, orthotic arch supports, bracing and physical therapy are common treatments for painful progressive flatfoot. In some cases, surgery may need to be performed to repair a torn or damaged tendon and restore normal alignment and function. In the most severe cases, surgery on the bones may be necessary to treat the painful flatfoot condition. Foot and Ankle Center providers are experts at both non surgical and surgical treatment of this condition.