Flat feet (otherwise known as pes planus) are feet that lack the usual arch which serves to absorb shock as we walk or run. There are varying degrees of flat feet. Some are very flat, where the entire sole of the foot is in contact with the ground while others are just flatter than normal. Some flat feet are rigid, while others have an arch when non-weight bearing, but become flat when the person stands. Furthermore, some cases of flat feet are associated with a congenital pathology while others relate to an acquired injury which has developed over a long period.
The appropriate treatment for flat feet depends on numerous factors, such as the cause, symptoms produced and likelihood of further injury. It is quite normal for young children to have flat feet. Usually the arch develops through childhood. The arch may be slow to develop but unless the individual is in pain or is restricted from usual activities, there is often no need to treat these feet. On the other hand, some individuals are unable to stand for long periods or walk for long distances because of the pain due to flat feet. In this case, a suitably prescribed orthotic can relieve their pain quickly. The staff of Hills District Podiatry are highly trained at assessing flat feet and in most cases can relieve symptoms quickly.