The medical term for flat feet or flat foot is pes planus.

What are flat feet?

Your foot supports your body’s weight and plays a big part in controlling posture. Your foot is supported by several arches which are maintained by supporting structures of your muscles, ligaments and bones in the foot.

Flat foot is the name given when the medial longitudinal arch of your foot is lostso your foot appeas flat as the majority of the bottom of it is in contact with the ground. There are several types and causes of flat foot.

Flat foot may be:

  • Fixed or flexible
  • Acquired or developmental

What causes flat feet?

In adults there can be physiological causes of plat foot or acquired causes:

Physiological flat foot:

  • Arch development is abnormal possibly due to an inherited ligament laxity
  • Approximately 20% of adults have flat foot, the majority have a flexible flat foot and don’t have any symptoms.

Adult-acquired flat feet:

  • Loss of arch support due to a dysfunction of the tibialis posterior tendon (common cause)
  • Tibialis anterior rupture (rare)
  • Tear of the spring ligament (rare)

A neuropathic foot due to conditions such as diabetes

Degenerative changes:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fractures
  • Bony abnormalities
  • Inflammatory arthropathy such as rheumatoid arthritis

What are the symptoms of flat feet?

You may not experience any pain or issues with flat feet though it can frequently lead to problems elsewhere such as knee pain, hip pain or lower back pain.

If you are walking and hear a “slap” sound, this can show loss of foot control.

Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • A change in foot shape

How is flat feet diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist can carry out a full foot assessment to determine whether or not you have flat foot.

What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for flat feet?

There are several different options for flat feet depending on the cause of your flat feet and symptoms. Following assessment your physiotherapist will provide a tailored treatment plan.

Your physiotherapist will choose what treatment methods to use based on your symptoms and how you respond to different treatment methods.

Treatment for flat feet may include:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Orthotic advice
  • Weight loss advice if indicated
  • Taping
  • Insoles
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Postural correction

Surgery may be indicated if the condition or injury is significantly affecting your feet.

Benefit of physiotherapy for flat feet?

Physiotherapy is a beneficial treatment method for flat feet. The particular benefits you feel will depend on your original symptoms and your treatment goals.

There are several benefits of physiotherapy for flat feet including:

  • Reduced pain
  • Improved foot posture
  • Improved flexibility
  • Improved strength
  • Education regarding footwear
  • Prevention of the problem recurring

If you would like to book an assessment or enquire further, please call 01245 830280 or e-mail: