You have flatfeet when the arch on the inside of your feet is flattened, allowing the entire sole of your foot to touch the floor when you stand up.
A common and usually painless condition, flatfeet may occur when the arches don’t develop during childhood. In other cases, flatfeet may develop after an injury or from the simple wear-and-tear stresses of age.
Flatfeet can sometimes contribute to problems in your ankles and knees because the condition can alter optimal alignment of your legs. If you aren’t experiencing any pain, no treatment is usually necessary for flatfeet.
A flat foot is normal in infants and toddlers, because the foot’s arch hasn’t yet developed. Most people’s arches develop throughout childhood, but some people never develop arches. This is a normal variation in foot type, and people without arches may or may not have problems.
Some children have flexible flatfoot, in which the arch is visible when the child is sitting or standing on tiptoes, but disappears when the child stands. Most children outgrow flexible flatfoot without problems.
Arches can also fall over time. Years of wear and tear can weaken the tendon that runs along the inside of your ankle and helps support your arch.
Most people have no signs or symptoms associated with flatfeet. But some people with flatfeet experience foot pain, particularly in the heel or arch area. Swelling along the inside of the ankle may also occur.
When to see a doctor
Talk to your doctor if you or your child is experiencing foot pain.