Pes planus, which is also known as flat feet, is a common foot type in the general population. When you have flat feet, the inner side of the sole flattens, allowing the entire sole to touch the ground.
Flat foot can be flexible or rigid. A person is said to have flexible flat foot arch if the inside of the foot collapses only when standing. In contrary, the inner foot arch of a rigid flat foot remains flattened even when the person is not standing.
Pes planus can be acquired or inherited.
Acquired flat feet can be due to aging, obesity, injury to the foot tendons or bones and certain illnesses such as diabetes and arthritis. Tarsal coalition, which is a fusion between the bones in the feet, and joint hypermobility, are causes of hereditary flat feet.
People with flat feet may not experience any symptoms. For others who develop symptoms, they often complain of tiredness or aching in their feet especially after prolonged standing or walking. There may be callus or hard skin formation on the soles of the feet and sometimes, pain along the foot arch and heels. The knees and the lower back may also be affected.
You should wear appropriate, well-structured footwear such as athletic shoes that provide stability to your feet. You should also see a health care provider or a podiatrist if you are having pain in your feet or are in doubt for a proper assessment.
A thorough physical exam and gait assessment will be performed by a podiatrist. You will be asked to walk barefoot to evaluate your foot mechanics. It is helpful to bring your daily, work, and sports shoes to the appointment. The podiatrist will also examine the foot for tenderness, range of motion, bony abnormalities and alignment. Depending on the findings of the physical examination, footwear may be recommended and insoles may be prescribed.