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SYMPTOMS OF FLAT FEET
By Bethesda, MD & Springfield, VA Foot Doctor, Dr. Paul Ross of The Podiatry Center

Flat feet, sometimes called fallen arches, are a relatively common issue affecting about 25% of Americans. Some people with flat feet – for example those with flexible flat feet – have no symptoms. For patients whose arches fall over time, this may not be the case. Their flat feet could cause ongoing and more serious problems if left untreated.

Not sure if you have flat feet? There’s an easy test you can do if you have some water and a dry, flat surface where you can see where it gets wet, such as a wooden deck or pavement. To see if you might have flat feet, get the bottoms of your feet wet and step naturally onto the dry deck or pavement. If you can see your whole foot without a dry area where your arch should be, you may have flat feet.

Causes of Flat Feet

There are a number of situations that can cause you to have or develop flat feet. In many cases, the damage is minimal and pain doesn’t make an appearance often. However, in other cases there is a great deal of pain and the fallen arches can cause other issues.

To get you better acquainted with flat feet and what might cause them, we’ll take a look at the two main categories of flat feet: congenital flat foot and acquired flat foot. Even a basic understanding of the differences between these two conditions can help you decide when to see your Bethesda, MD Foot Doctor or Springfield, VA Foot Doctor.

Congenital Flat Feet

Congenital flat feet are there from birth, meaning either you were predisposed to getting flat feet or your arches just never fully developed. The most common form of congenital flat feet is called flexible flat feet. This means that it does look like the person has an arch until weight is put on the foot, when the arch is no longer visible. This form of flat feet usually doesn’t have any symptoms or pain, and even if there is slight pain, it can usually be solved with arch supports.

Though that’s the most common, there are also less common versions of congenital flat feet that involve more pain and aren’t flexible, meaning that the feet are flat whether weight is applied or not. Some of these more severe conditions include:

  • Tarsal Coalitions
  • Vertical Talus
  • Congenital Calcaneal Valgus

If you suspect that you might have one of these more severe foot issues, please make an appointment with your podiatrist today to help alleviate your pain.

Acquired Flat Feet

Acquiring flat feet usually takes time… it doesn’t just suddenly happen one day. Many times, this problem occurs over time by doing the same damaging activity on a common and regular basis.

Common causes of acquired flat feet:

  • Walking on hard, flat surfaces
  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Stretched or torn tendons
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Nerve damage
  • Compensating for other abnormalities in the body
  • Broken or dislocated bones

Common Symptoms of Flat Feet

  • You have pain or aching in your feet, especially in your heels and arches
  • Foot movement – like standing on your toes – is difficult
  • Your feet get tired or sore easily
  • You have pain in your ankles and knees
  • You have back and leg pain
  • You have pain in your lower back and hips
  • The bottom inside of your feet gets swollen

If you have more than one of these symptoms, there’s a good chance that you might have flat feet, even though some of these symptoms also apply to other conditions. For a proper diagnosis, call your podiatrist today.

No one likes being in pain, and your feet are extremely important! Making sure that you have use of them for as many years as possible involves speaking with a podiatrist, so give The Podiatry Center a call today at (301) 656-6055. We can help you find the most effective way to keep your feet healthy for years to come!


The Podiatry Centers treat all medical and surgical foot pain and ankle pain conditions. Licensed Bethesda, MD Foot Doctor, Dr. Paul Ross can help bring you foot pain and ankle pain relief.

Our Bethesda, Maryland (MD) and Springfield, Virginia (VA) Podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community, including: Woodbridge VA, Fairfax VA, Annandale VA, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA, Burke VA, Gaithersburg MD, Potomac MD, Silver Spring MD, Rockville MD and Chevy Chase MD.

Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!


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