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Flat Feet Demystified: A Beginner’s Guide to Pain-Free Living

There are a lot of common misconceptions about flat feet—including the idea that they’re always a problem. People with flat feet can, in fact, enter the military, and they usually lead normal lives. That said, they are at a higher risk of developing chronic ankle pain, foot pain, heel pain, and even hip and back issues over time. 

That’s because the biomechanics of your feet have a major impact on the alignment of other parts of your body, and not having arches can affect everything up the chain. So, how do you know if you need to see a podiatrist? Can flat feet be healthy? 

At Lakes Foot & Ankle Associates, we are here to tell you everything you need to know about this fairly common condition—including how to find the best shoes and insoles for flat feet!

Flatfoot 101: The Basics

When we talk about flat feet, we’re generally talking about a condition in which the arches of a person’s foot completely flatten out when they stand up. That means the entire sole of your foot touches flat on the floor when you stand.


Flat foot, or pes planusas it is medically known, can generally occur in one of two ways. Either you never develop arches in childhood, or you have arches but they collapse in adulthood.

All babies are born without arches, and children typically develop them as they grow, often around the age of six. But in some individuals, the arches never form. This is often due to heredity (flat feet can run in families) or other genetic factors.

In other cases, a person does develop arches, but they fall or collapse over time. Adults can develop flat feet for several reasons. Risk factors for adult-acquired fallen arches include:

  • Weight gain & obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Wear & tear due to age
  • Foot injuries & strains


Flat Feet Symptoms

Your arch is the area between the ball and heel of your foot and is supported by multiple tendons and ligaments. The posterior tibial tendon is the main tendon that supports the arch, and when this tendon weakens, the entire arch may flatten out when you stand or walk. This may not hurt, but it can put additional strain on other parts of your foot, potentially affecting your gait and posture.

For many people, the only “symptom” of flat feet is not having arches. However, if you are experiencing persistent foot pain, limited mobility, or other complications throughout your knees, hips, ankles, & spine, it’s important to see one of our doctors so they may educate you about customized solutions for your foot problem.

When to See a Podiatrist for Flat Feet

Because your arches play such an important role in shock absorption, having flat feet could increase your risk of injuries like tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and more. These issues can interfere with your ability to move and exercise, which affects your overall health and well-being.

Make an appointment with one of our doctors if you experience:

  • Pain in the feet, ankles, or knees
  • Fatigue in the feet
  • Difficulty walking or running
  • Swollen feet
  • Frequent foot calluses, corns, and/or bunions

How to Fix Flat Feet: Treatment Options & More


Flat feet may not always need to be “fixed”—in most cases, it is enough to manage the condition with the help of your trusted podiatrist. We will recommend proper supportive footwear and may recommend or create a set of custom orthotics.

Meeting with one of our doctors gives you a thorough understanding of your unique condition. You can spend lots of time and money searching for remedies based on other peoples’ experiences, but the best course of action will be the one you and your podiatrist develop together.

Best Shoes for Flat Feet

When choosing walking shoes or running shoes for flat feet, there are a few important factors to consider:

  • Support: Good support helps prevent pain and fatigue
  • Cushioning: The shoes should have a cushioned midsole to absorb shock and reduce impact on the joints
  • Width: A wide toe box gives the toes enough room to spread out
  • Flexibility: A flexible sole allows the foot to move naturally

You may not have known this, but our doctors provide footwear suggestions based on your unique biomechanic needs and style preferences! And if you’re looking for additional tools to help you with your current wardrobe, insoles are another great option to consider.

Insoles for Flat Feet: How Custom Orthotics Can Help

Wearing supportive insoles, better described as orthotics, can provide more structural support and control to people with flat feet. This support distributes pressure more naturally, safeguarding you from future aches, pains, and sprains.

Not all insoles are created equally, and that’s even true of custom orthotics. The best insoles for flat feet are the ones that are customized to your unique biomechanics—and that are comfortable enough that you’ll actually wear them.

At Lakes Foot & Ankle Associates, we use advanced diagnostic tools to create 3D-printed custom orthotics for the modern age. Our orthotics are created using the latest biomechanics research and leading-edge manufacturing processes to ensure the perfect fit for every foot. These orthotics are fine-tuned to your individual foot type and made of high-quality materials.

Learn more about them and the technology we use on our advanced custom orthotics page!

Get Ultimate Support from Lakes Foot & Ankle Associates

Having flat feet isn’t a sign of weakness, and many people lead normal lives without arches. But it can have unexpected consequences for your body’s overall biomechanics. If you have heel pain, foot pain, or other issues that make it uncomfortable to walk or run, come see us at Lakes Foot & Ankle Associates!

We’re here to help identify the root cause of your pain and develop a customized solution to get you comfortably back on your feet.

Find Relief from All Forms of Foot Pain & Heel Pain in Commerce Twp, MI

At Lakes Foot & Ankle Associates, Dr. Shanahan and Dr. Petronella are here to help you live your best life with happy feet, pain-free. Whether you have flat feet or high arches, you’re never at your best when your feet hurt. Our team is here to create a personalized care plan to help you enjoy everything life in Commerce Township has to offer. Call us today at (248) 360-3888 or contact us online to request an appointment!


It’s Time To Leave Foot & Ankle Pain Behind!

Monday8:30am – 5:00pm
Tuesday9:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday8:30am – 5:00pm
Thursday9:00am – 6:00pm
FridayBy Appointment
Saturday– Closed –
Sunday– Closed –


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