Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute

4 Potential Complications of Flat Feet, and How to Avoid Them

Feb 14, 2024
4 Potential Complications of Flat Feet, and How to Avoid Them
Flat feet might not seem like a big deal, but they can lead to problems over time. Here are four ways the lack of an arch can impact your feet — and how to avoid these issues.

The arch of your foot plays a critical role in your mobility. It absorbs shock from the impact of each step while helping your body propel forward. 

When you have flat feet, your insufficient arch means you miss out on these key benefits. Over time, you might wind up dealing with complications that affect you well beyond your feet. 

Fortunately, we can help. As flat feet specialists, our team at Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute offers a variety of treatments to provide your feet with the shock absorption and support they need. At our offices in American Fork and Saratoga Springs, Utah, we tailor treatment to help. 

Four ways flat feet can affect you

So, why are flat feet such a big deal? At first, they probably aren’t. In fact, babies start their lives with flat feet, and their arches usually develop over time. 

But over the years, the lack of an arch can cause issues like:

Foot pain

Many people don’t have any discomfort from their flat feet. But in some instances, the condition causes pain in the arch or heel of the foot. You might also notice some swelling on the inside edge of your ankle. 

Usually, pain related to flat feet worsens the more you move. 

Knee pain

The lack of an arch can cause the lower part of your leg to twist inward, contributing to knee pain. In fact, a recent study showed that flat feet strongly correlated to knee osteoarthritis — the type of arthritis that develops because of wear-and-tear. 

Lower back pain

Because the arches help your body absorb shock, living without them means more impact on the rest of your body. Many people notice the cumulative effects of this issue in their low back. 

Shin splints

Again, the lack of shock absorption plays a role here. Without the arches to provide cushion as you move, your shins experience more force on them with each step. Flat feet are a known contributor to shin splints. 

How to prevent complications

In many people, making simple modifications is enough to support the feet and avoid complications from insufficient arches. These include:

  • Choosing shoes with arch support
  • Adding orthotics to shoes that don’t provide arch support
  • Doing targeted stretching and strengthening exercises 
  • Resting when you experience issues like knee pain or shin splints
  • Bracing or taping
  • Maintaining a healthy weight to prevent excess pressure on the feet

If you’re still dealing with issues from your flat feet, our team can explore more involved treatment like medication or physical therapy. 

If you have flat feet, talk with us so we can develop a plan to minimize your risk of complications. Contact our team at the Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute by calling (801) 756-4200.