Flat Foot - Diagnosis & Treatment

How is flat foot diagnosed?

To diagnose flat foot, the doctor will assess the symptoms and evaluate how flexible the foot and ankle might be. The doctor will also examine how the arches look while standing, sitting and walking. An X-ray or scan may be recommended to provide the doctor with a view of the bones and tendons to confirm the diagnosis.

How is flat foot treated?

Flat foot can be treated non-surgically and surgically:


Treatment for flat foot is usually not necessary for those who do not experience any symptoms. In mild cases, there are ways to prevent it from getting worse and for those who experience severe symptoms, there are treatments that can help. If treatment is required, the doctor will recommend non-surgical options first, with surgery as a last resort.

Non-surgical treatments can help to relieve pain and stiffness. These may include one or more of the following:

  • Rest and ice to relieve pain
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve inflammation, swelling and pain
  • Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen tendons and muscles, and help improve flexibility and mobility
  • Devices such as foot inserts known as orthotics, foot or leg braces, or customised shoes to provide support
  • Lifestyle changes such as an exercise and weight-loss programme to reduce pressure on the feet, or modifying daily activities to reduce the need to stand or walk for long periods


Surgery for flat foot may be recommended if non-surgical treatments are unable to adequately relieve painful symptoms. Depending on the individual, different types of surgery may be performed to create an arch, repair tendons, or lengthen the Achilles tendon.

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