What Issues Can Flat Feet Cause?

What Issues Can Flat Feet Cause?

If you have flat feet, which means your feet have no visible arch, you can sometimes develop complications from the condition. Flat feet don’t always cause problems, but issues can unexpectedly develop at any time.

Ryan Golub, DPM, and Zachary Flynn, DPM, AACFAS, our podiatrists at Ryan Golub, DPM, and Zachary Flynn, DPM, AACFAS, recommend a specialist prevention and treatment plan for any problems related to flat feet. Learn the issues flat feet can cause and how to help them get better.

Types of flat feet

You can either have flat feet from childhood or develop them later in life. Childhood flat feet occur when your feet never develop arches as expected. This type of flat foot is usually genetic.

You can also develop flat feet in adulthood after originally having an intact arch. This type of arch can develop from genetic, lifestyle, or environmental factors.

Either type of flat foot can cause you to develop further issues or complications at any point. You’re more likely to experience issues if you have adult rather than childhood-acquired flat feet.

Possible complications of flat feet

Fortunately, some people don’t experience any problems from flat feet. However, you can develop issues at any time in your life, even if you didn’t previously have complications.

Some of the issues flat feet can cause include:


Pain is the most common impact of flat feet. Having flat feet can change the way you walk, which can cause stress and pain in different parts of your body.

The most common places to experience pain from flat feet are where your arch and ankle should be. The problem begins most in your inner arch and ankle but can progress to the outer areas as the complications get more severe.

You can also experience pain related to flat feet in your:

Pain can occur at any time, but it’s often worse when you’re moving and being active.


Your feet can also become swollen from flat feet. Usually, the swelling occurs on the inside of your ankle or foot.

Stiffness and numbness

Your feet can also become stiff or numb, particularly during or after periods of activity.

Lower body misalignment

How you walk with flat feet can cause various alignment problems in your feet and ankles. You’re more likely to overpronate when you walk, which can cause strain in your entire lower body.

Along with the pain this can cause, you might develop calluses and corns on your feet from walking differently and find you wear shoes down unevenly.


In severe cases of flat feet, you can develop arthritis over time. This comes from walking with poor alignment for an extended period.

Flat feet treatment

If our podiatrists diagnose you with flat feet, they can recommend many treatments to prevent or relieve any potential issues or problems they’ve caused. Usually, our team begins with noninvasive conservative treatments.

Changing your footwear is one of the easiest ways to support flat feet. Custom orthotics and changing your shoes to ones that support the arch can improve your alignment and decrease issues like pain.

Our team might also recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication, physical therapy, or an at-home-stretching routine to strengthen your foot and ankle and reduce pain, as well as a temporary cast or boot.

If your flat feet are severe, we might recommend reconstructive surgery to improve the arch and alignment in your foot.

When it comes to treating flat feet, treating issues early helps prevent you from developing more serious complications later. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

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