Most foot deformities involve an unusually flat or high arched feet with or without pain. Some patients are born with this condition or it may have been caused by an injury.

Flat Foot

Flat foot is a condition in which the entire sole of the foot touches the floor when standing. Some are born with flat fleet while others may get flat fleet from an injury. Many people have flat feet without any pain. Those with pain may experience the following symptoms:

  • Feet tire easily
  • Painful or achy feet, especially in the areas of the arches and heels
  • The inside bottom of your feet become swollen
  • Foot movement, such as standing on your toes, is difficult
  • Back and leg pain

Treating Flat Foot

Your podiatrist may recommend the following treatments for pain caused by flat feet:

  • Rest and ice to relieve pain and reduce swelling
  • Stretching exercises
  • Anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthotic devices, shoe modifications, braces, or casts
  • Injected medications to reduce inflammation, such as corticosteroids
  • In more severe cases, where there is a lot of pain or foot damage is, your doctor may recommend surgery.

High Arched Feet

High arch is an arch, sometimes called the, “pes cavus,” that is raised more than normal. The arch runs from the toes to the heel on the bottom of the foot. High arch is usually caused by a bone or nerve condition. Highly arched feet tend to be painful, because more stress is placed on the section of the foot between the ankle and toes.

Diagnosing High Arched Feet

When the person stands on the foot, the instep looks hollow. Most of the weight is on the back and balls of the foot (metatarsals head).

Your podiatrist will need to check to see if the high arch is flexible, meaning it can be moved around.

Tests that may be done include:

  • Electromyography
  • MRI
  • Nerve conduction studies
  • X-ray of the feet or spine
  • Treatment Options
    • High arches, especially ones that are flexible or well cared for, may not need any treatment. Corrective shoes may help relieve pain and improve walking. This includes changes to the shoes, such as an arch insert and a support insole. In severe cases, surgery to flatten the foot is sometimes needed.

Departments and Programs Who Treat This Condition



The podiatric (foot) surgeons at Boston Medical Center manage all types of foot disorders with expertise in treating diabetic ulcers, wound infections, and performing reconstructi…