A Closer Look into Flat Feet

Flat feet is when one or both of your feet have little or no arch. It makes the pads of your feet press into the ground when you stand. Flat feet do not cause problems in most people, but some individuals experience pain. Common symptoms of flat feet include leg cramps, muscle pain in your foot or leg, pain while walking, toe drift, and pain in your arch, ankle, heel, or outside of your foot. You are more likely to develop flat feet The Woodlands if the condition runs in your family, you are highly athletic or physically active, or you are obese. Sometimes untreated flat feet can lead to complications like shin splints, hammertoes, bunions, Achilles tendonitis, and ankle and foot arthritis.

What are the causes of flat feet?

Arches in children form by the age of six. But in some children, arches do not develop normally or remain flat, and doctors refer to it as pediatric flat feet. In adulthood, you can develop flat feet due to injuries or diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or cerebral palsy. Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is adults’ most common cause of flat feet. Obesity and pregnancy are other factors that can lead to flat feet in adults.

How are flat feet diagnosed?

Manual examination: Your provider may recommend you stand straight on your feet and then stand on your toes to get a clearer view of your feet’ structure.

X-ray: An x-ray can help your doctor rule out other conditions like bone deformities.

CT-scan: A CT-scan gives detailed images of your feet and helps your doctor check for tendon injuries.

Treatment options for flat feet


Your doctor may recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain drugs like ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling.  

Foot support

Foot support is often the first treatment for flat feet. Your doctor may recommend you wear shoe inserts to support your feet. For kids, doctors may prescribe special shoes or heels until their feet form fully.


Feet exercises can help alleviate the pain and symptoms associated with your flat feet. Your therapist will guide you to the best stretching and strengthening exercises to help improve strength and flexibility in your feet and ankle. Heel cord stretching and golf ball rolling are common exercises for flat feet.

Lifestyle changes

Certain lifestyle changes can help reduce pain from flat feet. If you are obese, your provider may suggest an exercise program to manage your weight to help minimize pressure on your feet. The provider may also recommend you avoid standing or walking for prolonged periods to manage your flat feet.

Foot surgery

Foot surgery can be beneficial for severe flat feet cases and is often the last treatment option. This operation may involve your surgeon creating an arch in your feet, repairing tendons, or fusing your bones or joints. If you have a short Achilles tendon, your surgeon can lengthen it to reduce pain.

Flat feet can result from congenital disability, genetic factors, injuries, or some medical conditions. Depending on the cause and symptoms of your flat feet, your doctor can treat the problem through medications, orthotics, exercises, or surgery. Schedule an appointment at Foot and Ankle Specialists for flat feet treatment to alleviate your foot pain.