How to Treat Pes Planus (Flat Feet)

As we saw in How to Treat Pes Cavus (High Arched Feet) the high arched foot is a common condition, which physiotherapists deal with and treat on a regular basis.  We also have to regularly address foot arch deformity namely, the “flat foot” or pes planus.  Pes planus is where there is no distinctive arch on the sole of the foot.  This can cause just as much discomfort and issues as those with too much of an arch.  To diagnose an issue with your arches, your physio will observe your feet and walking pattern to identify any movement issues.

flat feet

The flat foot can be due to a large number of issues affecting the structures around the foot and ankle, some more common than others.  Inherent bone deformities can be the reason behind flat feet in children, but surprisingly, the adult-acquired flat foot is strongly correlated to muscle damage.  A tear or weakness in one of the muscles responsible for lateral stability can cause the ankle to roll inwards and causes this appearance of a flat foot. However, it doesn’t have to be a complete tear for feet to always present like this.  Over-activity in some calf muscles can also cause the same issues as chronic tightness in this area can position the heel to cause the arch of the foot to tighten, and be dragged down into this flat-footed position. This is often treated by your therapist with manual treatment, a strict stretching and flexibility program, as well as exercises to strengthen the muscles at the front of the shin.  Shoes orthotics can also be highly beneficial too as they can decrease the load on the medial (middle) portion of the foot, and place the foot into a more anatomically correct position.

If you are experiencing long-term pain in the sole of your foot, aching after lengthy periods of walking and instability around your ankles, consider being seen by one of our therapists. We visit you at your home or place of work and can often arrange the first appointment within 24 hours. Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email us at info@physiocomestoyou.com.

Post by Zoe Birch, Head of Orthopaedic Physiotherapy at Physiocomestoyou.

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