Usually when people refer to ‘flat feet’ they are talking about the arch that runs from the heel area towards the toes, and that their arch is low or isn’t there at all. This is known officially as pes planus.
Low arch profile
If an arch profile is lower or higher than expected, a podiatrist will judge this by the other surrounding structures in the foot, as these may also be altered.
3 types of arch profile
The arch profile for each person is different, and there is not a specifically measured arch height that is classed as ‘normal’. It is more important that the foot is functioning well whilst you walk, and your feet are not in pain when walking or from excessive hard skin.
What should I do about flat feet?
If you are not experiencing any pain, discomfort or other concerns relating to your feet or lower limbs, you do not need to worry about having a low arch profile.
If you think your arches have recently become more flattened, if the arch on one foot is significantly different to the other and you are experiencing pain or discomfort that was not previously there, or any other changes that mean you are concerned about the arches of your feet, you may need to see a podiatrist for an assessment.
Possible treatments and management for flat feet
If your podiatrist diagnoses problems associated with your arch profile, the treatment or management will depend on the associated problem(s). This could include but is not exclusive to: prescribed insoles; stretching and/or strengthening exercises; referral to an orthotist; or the reduction of callus or corns.