Flat feet, or "fallen arches", are where your feet press flat on the ground. They're common and usually nothing to worry about.
To see if you have flat feet, check the inner sides of your feet while you're standing up.
You don't need to do anything if you or your child have flat feet that aren't causing any problems.
In children, flat feet usually last until they're about 6 years of age.
These problems mean you might need treatment.
If you need treatment, your GP may refer you to a specialist like a podiatrist or physiotherapist.
Referral to a specialist isn't available everywhere and waiting times can be long.
Your GP might be able to give you advice about paying to see a specialist privately.
A foot specialist can offer advice about:
These won't change the shape of your feet, but can help with things like pain or stiffness.
Surgery is rarely needed for flat feet.
It might help if there's a problem with the bones, tissues or muscles in your feet and other treatments haven't worked.
Your GP may refer you to a surgeon if they think surgery might help.
Often there's no obvious cause for flat feet. It might just be the way your feet are.
Sometimes flat feet run in families.
Rarely, they may be caused by:
Page last reviewed: Sat Sep 2021 Next review due: Sat Sep 2021