Flat Feet

Flat Feet

Flatfoot is often a complex disorder, with diverse symptoms and varying degrees of deformity and disability. There are several types of flatfoot, all of which have one characteristic in common: partial or total collapse (loss) of the arch.

Flexible flatfoot

Flexible flatfoot is one of the most common types of flatfoot. It typically begins in childhood or adolescence and continues into adulthood. It usually occurs in both feet and progresses in severity throughout the adult years. As the deformity worsens, the soft tissues (tendons and ligaments) of the arch may stretch or tear and can become inflamed. The term “flexible” means that while the foot is flat when standing (weightbearing), the arch returns when not standing.

Flexible flatfoot can lead to the following symptoms and conditions:

  • Ankles that roll in or pronate

  • Shin splints

  • Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, bunions, and hammertoes

  • Aching or fatigue in the foot or leg

  • Low back, hip, knee, ankle pain, and migraines

Treatment for patients with mild flatfoot can include an over-the-counter arch, but most patients with more severe flatfoot will need correction of their foot mechanics with custom orthotics.

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) refers to inflammation of the tendon of the tibialis posterior. This condition arises when the tendon becomes inflamed, stretched, or torn leading to a collapsing arch. Left untreated, it may lead to severe disability and chronic pain. Risk factors for this condition are obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.


Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune disorder that can cause the arch to collapse. The faulty immune system attacks the joints and the ligaments that support the foot.


People who were involved in sports are also at risk for developing flat feet. Injury to the ligaments of the foot can cause those ligaments to lose their ability to maintain the shape of the foot resulting in a collapsed arch.

Charcot Foot

Charcot Foot is a form of arthritis that often develops suddenly and without pain. Without any warning, the bones in the foot and/or ankle spontaneously fracture and fragment, often causing a severe deformity. The arch of the foot often collapses, and pressure areas develop on the bottom of the foot, leading to open sores or ulcers.

For an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, call us at 206-368-7000.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.