Adults’ flat foot


Adults’ flat foot is a common orthopaedic trouble in adults, which needs treatment of its distressing symptoms.

Adults’flat foot

The meaning of adults’ flat foot

It is a collapse of the longitudinal arch of the foot. Both the feet and ankles will be affected secondary to this condition.

The importance of the feet arch

The medial longitudinal foot arch is responsible for distribution of the body weight while standing and walking. Partial or total loss of this arch will lead to unequal distribution of the body weight on the feet with secondary strain on the feet muscles.   

Differences between adult and paediatric flat foot

On the contrary of paediatric flat foot, adults’ flat foot is a permanent condition and its treatment is directed to the relief of symptoms rather than actual cure.

Causes of adults’ flat foot

Sure, children with flat foot will are highly susceptible to develop it when they become adults.

It can be caused by acquired conditions such as:

  • Injury of the foot ligaments
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction: posterior tibial tendon is responsible for maintaining stability of the longitudinal arch of the foot during walking. If this tendon is damaged secondary to any reason, it will results in flat foot
  • Arthritis of feet joints with will flatten its arch
  • Diabetes can result in Charcot foot. This may be a debilitating condition with serious complications. Some diabetic patients are suffering from autonomic neuropathy; they get injured without paying an attention secondary to this neuropathy. This is why they may develop laxity of their feet ligaments without observing this. Even, bones can be fractured without pain sensation.
  • Senile weakness of the foot ligaments and muscles

All these events can result in deformed foot in diabetics, named: Charcot foot.

High risk of acquiring flat foot in adulthood is met in

  • Obese patients
  • Pregnant females
  • Soccer players
  • Patients of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetic patients
  • Hypertensive individuals

 Signs and symptoms of adults’ flat foot

  • Feet and ankle pain during walking and standing
  • Abnormal gait
  • Pain in the calf region and legs
  • Pain in knees and hips up to the lower back secondary to strain

It affects both males and females.

Management of adults’ flat foot

Medical treatment


Surgical treatment

 It is required in cases such as Charcot foot


  • Wearing wide fitting shoes
  • Using insoles and orthotic to support the arch
  • Custom designed arch supports
  • Wearing ankle brace if there’s inflammation of the Achilles tendon
  • Reducing activities and have periods of rest


Physiotherapist will teach you helpful exercises such as:  

The golf ball roll

Sit on the chair with feet firmly on the ground. Put a golf ball under the foot, and roll it forward and back under the arch of the foot for 2 minutes to stretch the plantar fascia ligament.

Heel cord stretching

A twice daily exercise for a tight Achilles tendon. The aim of heel cord stretching is to stretch the Achilles tendon and posterior calf muscles.

  • Stand facing a wall and place one hand on the wall at eye level.
  • Put the tired leg approximately one step behind the other leg, and plant the heel firmly on the ground.
  • Bend the knee of the front leg until feel a stretch in the back leg.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat nine more times.
  • Avoid arching the back and to keep it straight.
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