Flat foot is a lack of the medial arch of the foot. The development of the medial arch occurs within 2-3 years of walking. In younger children the medial arch is largely obliterated by a fat pad.
Flat feet may be a familial condition or it may reflect joint laxity. Flat feet are insignificant if the foot is pain free, mobile and develops an arch when the patient stands on tiptoe.
Occasional underlying causes of flat feet include neurological problems and pathological joint laxity. Sometimes severe convex flat feet may be due to congenital vertical talus. The latter condition necessitates early surgical intervention in order to avoid crippling deformity in later life.
Last reviewed 01/2018