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Thanks for posting your question – it’s a really interesting one and something I am sure that is shared by many others. As Dr Sean has mentioned, flat feet are common, but they should not necessarily be regarded as a “problem” per se. If you look at most Asian patients, low arches are the norm.
There is often a line of thought that flat feet are the root of all pain and injuries. In fact, pain can be attributed to different factors such as:
- Your chosen activity
- Your training load
- Overall strength
- Whether any equipment you are using is appropriate for you.
These are but a few factors, and many more can be elicited from a thorough assessment. Equally, heel pain can be due to:
- Plantar fasciitis
- An ankle tendon issue
- Or even a bony injury
Seeing a podiatrist might be a good first step (please forgive the pun), but it may not be your feet causing the symptoms. Insoles can range from off the shelf ones for $80, to custom made ones in the region of $400+.
I think you should look into the options and perhaps think about how and when the symptoms came on. It’s likely that you have had low arches/flat feet for several years, and hence it’s contribution to your symptoms must be taken in the context of the bigger picture.
Dr Dinesh Sirisena
Sport Medicine Consultant
Thank you for the question. Flat feet is an extremely common problem. But there are many other factors to consider before we can say whether the feet are actually pathological and need active treatment. Some of these include the age group of the patient, the activity level, and some other factors. We usually would have to do a thorough examination of the feet/ ankles/ lower limbs, do some xrays or even MRIs, so that we can correctly identify the cause of the flat feet. We can then proceed to offer the correct management for the patient.
Clinically, if you have heel and back pain, it usually means there is some imbalance, and the flat feet could be the cause. Seeing a podiatrist is useful, and they would do a made-to-measure insole to correct your flatfoot. The symptoms may resolve, but if they persist, then it would be a good option to consider a visit to the orthopaedic surgeon.
Dr Sean Ng
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon