Pes planus is a common condition also known as flat feet or fallen arches. As the names suggest, the condition is marked by feet that have no arches and are visually flat. When an individual with pes planus stands up, his whole foot touches the ground, whereas an individual with an arch will exhibit a small gap between the inside of his foot and the ground. Pes planus is usually painless, although when an individual does experience pain, the condition might be caused by or lead to other medical problems.
The arch of the foot is not found in infants or toddlers, as it normally develops in childhood. Some people do not develop this arch, though, which accounts for their case of pes planus. Other people develop the arch, but it collapses over time due to injury or wear and tear. For those who do not develop the arch, it is often viewed as just a different type of normal foot. This is because even though the affected individual might have flat feet, when he stands on his toes, the arch might appear if the feet are flexible.
Pes planus can be painful for some people. Painful flat feet can occur because the feet are inflexible, which limits an individual’s ability to move them. Tarsal coalition, a condition in which bones in a foot fuse or grow together, is a cause of painful flat feet. In some instances, having flat feet can lead to ankle problems. The ankles turn inward, which can cause pain and problems not only with the foot and ankle, but the lower leg or knee as well.
Most people do not experience pain or problems with pes planus. The most obvious sign of the condition is that the arch is missing or that the entire foot touches the ground when the individual stands. Problematic pes planus has more symptoms, the major symptom being foot pain or pain in the surrounding areas. In addition, an individual might also have trouble standing on his toes.
Generally, there is no way to prevent pes planus from occurring. When the condition is present, it can be diagnosed through a physical examination of the feet. There is usually no treatment unless the affected individual experiences pain. When this is the case, the aim is to discover the cause of the pain or the cause of the condition. Treatment options include medication, therapy and surgery.