What Is Flexible Flatfoot?

A Flexible flatfoot is a very common type of foot deformity. It usually occurs in childhood or adolescence and progresses into adulthood. This foot type condition will usually affect both feet and if left untreated the deformity can become progressive during the adult years. As the deformity progresses, it often results soft tissues changes within tendons and ligaments causing them to stretch or tear resulting the collapse and flattening of the arch of the foot upon weight-bearing. However the arch returns when not bearing weight termed “flexible”.

Symptoms: Which may occur in some persons with flexible flatfoot, include: Pain in the heel, arch, ankle, or along the outside of the foot as well as fatigue or aching in the foot and leg. The ankle itself will have the appearance of being rolled in. A flexible flatfoot if left untreated also associated with the lower back, hips and knee pain.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis of a flexible flatfoot is done by the podiatric surgeon during the office visit. He or she will do a biomechanical exam and observe the appearance of the foot when sitting, standing, and through a gait analysis. X-rays are also taken of the foot to determine the extent of the condition.


There are many causes of a flatfoot deformity which include: Equinus, talipes calcaneovalgus, compensated forefoot varus, compensated forefoot valgus, rearfoot equines. Also, metatarsus adductus , internal tibial torsion, genu valgum and varum, muscular imbalances, flaccid paralysis, ruptured posterior tibialis tendon, accessory navicular bone, and ligamentous laxity caused by Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan’s syndrome.


There are many ways to treat symptoms associated with this foot type. Stopping or cutting back on the activities that cause pain and avoid prolonged standing or walking. It is important to also wear the proper shoes that not only are appropriate for the activity you are engaging in, but also a shoe that supports the arches. Orthotic devices can also be used in conjunction with your shoes to support the arches and correct any biomechanical deformity. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory can also be used to help reduce any pain associated with this condition. Physical therapy as well as gait training is also a treatment option for pain associated with any conditions associated with this foot type. In some patients that don’t respond to any conservative treatments and are still in discomfort surgery may be necessary. There are many surgical options available to correct conditions associated with a flexible flatfoot. These procedures are selected based on a number of factors by your podiatric surgeon that include severity of deformity, age, x-ray findings, biomechanical examination, activity level, etc.

If you suffer from pain associated with flat feet make an appointment with us today here at Atlantic foot and Ankle where your podiatric surgeon will be happy to treat and answer any questions you may have about your feet at any of our five locations, Savannah, Hinesville, Statesboro, Claxton, or Bluffton.