Q: What causes flat feet? If my flat feet don’t cause me pain, do I still need to take precautions to prevent future problems?

A: Flat feet or Pes Planus is a common condition. In infants and toddlers, the longitudinal arch is not developed and flat feet are normal. The arch develops in childhood, and by adulthood, most people have developed normal arches.

When flat feet persist, the majority are considered variations of normal. Most feet are flexible and an arch appears when the person stands on his or her toes. Stiff, inflexible, or painful flat feet may be associated with other conditions and require attention but flat feet that are painless do not require treatment.

If pain due to flexible flat feet occurs, regardless of cause, an orthotic (arch supporting insert in the shoe) can bring relief. However, even if feet don’t experience pain, fallen arches can contribute to knee, hip and low back discomfort so it’s worth having a postural assessment by a health professional just in case your flat feet are contributing to other issues.

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