3 Types of Flatfoot and How Each Is Treated

3 Types of Flatfoot and How Each Is Treated

Everyone’s feet are different. Some people have long toes while others don’t. Most people have an arch that supports their foot, but some people lack this structural component.

If you’re in the camp of people with archless feet, you get diagnosed with flatfoot. In some people, this just means your foot looks different. But this condition can cause unwelcome symptoms like foot pain and leg cramps. 

Fortunately, we can help. Here at Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center in Wexford, Pennsylvania, William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS, and our team specialize in diagnosing and treating flatfoot. And that means Dr. DeCarbo can tell you what type of flatfoot affects you. 

The different types of flatfoot

Other than vertical talus, a congenital disability some babies are born with, flatfoot comes in three different forms:

Flexible flatfoot

If your foot looks like it has an arch when you’re sitting, don’t assume that’s the case. Stand up and check your feet. Some people have flexible flatfoot, which means the arch appears when there’s no weight on the foot but disappears once pressure is applied. 

Rigid flatfoot

With rigid flatfoot, there’s no arch to speak of whether you’re sitting or standing. Your foot looks flat in any circumstance. 

Adult-acquired flatfoot (fallen arches)

While the other two types of flatfoot usually develop during adolescence and get worse through the years, fallen arches can happen at any point in your life. Arches might collapse because of an injury or a health condition that causes inflammation. People most frequently get a fallen arch in only one foot rather than in both feet. 

You can check for any of these types of flatfoot at home. Dip your foot in water and then step on concrete, paper, or something else that will show the shape of your footprint. Check that the footprint curves inward where the arch should be on both feet. If the line goes straight from the base of your big toe joint to your heel on one or both feet, you likely have flatfoot. 

Getting relief from flatfoot symptoms

If you’re dealing with foot pain, limited mobility, or other symptoms from flatfoot, don’t hesitate to visit Dr. DeCarbo. 

Here at Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center, he examines your feet, talks with you about your symptoms, and uses any tools necessary (e.g., an X-ray) to find out what’s going on with your arches.

Then, he tailors a treatment plan to you based on the type of flatfoot you have, the discomfort it causes you, and your unique feet. That might include:

  • Custom orthotics
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretches and strengthening exercises you can do at home
  • Prescription shoes

Ultimately, you have options to get relief no matter which type of flatfoot affects you. To find the right treatment for your specific feet, call our office or book your appointment online