Having flat feet means either one or both feet have a reduced arch. Fallen arches can occur when wear and tear over a long period of time weakens the tendons that shape the arch. Flat feet can be associated with a genetic pre-disposition, or arise through injury that causes inflammation of the tendons. Flat feet can be very painful in children with a condition called Tarsal Coalition where bones in the feet fuse together, causing a flat foot and limited movement.
Symptoms can vary for each patient. The most common one is when the arch of the foot becomes tender. If it is left untreated, you may also develop corns and calluses on the sole of the foot. In the most severe cases it can cause pain in the knees, the hips and the back.
Strengthening the muscles in your lower legs usually helps with movement.
Flat feet can be treated with orthotics, which can provide bio-mechanical support and help the feet to function more efficiently. If none of this works then the podiatrist may recommend surgery. This, however, is only for the most severe cases and if all other treatments have been exhausted.