Flat Feet & Sports

Most people with flat feet experience no problems and require no treatment for their condition, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. These individuals can lead a normal life full of physical activity and sports. For others, flat feet can cause pain and can decrease the foot's flexibility. Sports can be extremely difficult and painful with sore feet. A variety of techniques and modifications can help make sports possible if you have painful flat feet. Always consult a doctor if you are experiencing pain owing to flat feet.

Flat Feet

The condition of flat feet is also known as pes planus. Pes planus is a condition that affects the arch or instep of the foot, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The arch collapses, and the entire sole of your foot touches the ground when you walk. You can be born with this condition, meaning that the arch of your foot never develops as you grow, or you can acquire flat feet in adulthood if the arch of your foot falls. In children, a condition called tarsal coalition can cause flat feet. This condition occurs when two or more of the bones in the foot are fused together. Tarsal coalition can limit motion and lead to acquired flat foot.

Flat Feet and Sports

Pes planus is a fairly common condition. For most individuals, flat feet cause no problems and do not inhibit participation in sports. For another individuals, flat feet can cause stiffness, inflexibility and pain in the feet. Flat feet can also cause ankle and lower leg pain. In sports that require a lot of running, you may feel pain over the bottom of your feet. This pain can cause discomfort in the knees and legs as well as limping after strenuous activity. Sports like baseball that require standing for a long period of time can cause pain with flat feet as well.

Footwear Modifications

If you have flat feet, you have restricted mobility in your feet. This lack of movement can make finding an appropriate-fitting athletic shoe difficult. Flat feet often cause the inside of a shoe to break down, which in athletic shoes leads to inadequate support. Special shoes and inserts can help to alleviate pain and address footwear needs for sports. Orthotics, for example, can help to relieve stress on your feet caused by pes planus. They provide support, improve shock absorption and redistribute pressure on the foot.


Flat feet may never require any treatment, according to Children's Memorial Hospital. In some cases, stretching and strengthening exercises can help to decrease the rigidness of your flat feet. You can also have surgery to correct this condition. To address flat feet, a surgeon places an implant in your foot to raise its arch. This surgery is not recommended for children and adolescents.

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