What is Flat Feet or Pronated Feet?

Flat feet or Pronated feet is a common biomechanical problem that occurs when a person’s arch collapses too far upon weight bearing.

Medically referred to as Pes Planus, it is where the arch of the foot is in complete contact with the ground. The arch of the foot plays an important role in lower limb biomechanics as it helps propel the body over the foot during walking while also acting as a shock absorber. When the muscles and ligaments that support the arch are stretch, it stops the function of the ‘windlass mechanism’, which is responsible for assisting the body to propel forward. It is said to be ‘over-pronated’ and is a common cause of foot, leg, knee and lower back pain.



Flat feet occurs when the framework of the foot begins to collapse, causing the foot to flatten, and then adds stress to other parts of the foot. Some causes include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Repetitive pounding of feet on a hard surface


Flat Feet in Children?

It is common for young infants and toddlers to have a flat foot appearance because the arch is not fully developed. The arch will form its shape between the ages of 4 and 6. 



Treatment for Flat feet depends on the severity and cause of the condition. In many cases if the patient's flat feet cause them no pain or difficulties, no treatment is needed.

Flat or Pronated feet are usually treated with orthotics. Management of painful symptoms can include physical therapy such as stretching and strengthening exercises, pain relief, soft tissue therapy and in some cases surgery. 



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