Flexible Flatfeet

Flexible flatfeet are very common - so common that we regard them as a variant of normal.

Flatfeet are the norm in toddlers, very common in children and seen in a lot of adults.

Nearly half of children who are 3-5 years old have flat feet, and most will develop arches as they get older.

A flexible flat foot displays its arch when tip-toeing, or when it is not being stood upon.

Studies comparing children who were given heel cups, insoles or nothing at all found no difference in way their feet developed. This tells us that heel cups or insoles will not change the shape of the foot.

Most children with flexible flat feet will never develop any pain or problems with their feet, and so need no treatment.

Occasionally, some older children may get foot pain with activities such as sports or long periods of walking. This may improve with in-soles or heel cups.

Some children have flat feet because their calf muscles are tight. In these cases the treatment needs to focus on stretching these tight muscles.

Surgery is almost never needed for flexible flatfeet.

Flatfeet that are not flexible are completely different to flexible flatfeet and need further investigation.