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How to Relieve Flat Feet and Fallen Arches Pain

Pain due to flat feet or fallen arches is amenable to conservative treatment involving exercises and use of orthotics. If this fails, surgical intervention can.

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Updated February 17, 2023.

A person has flat feet when their foot arch is depressed. Consequently, almost the entire sole is in continuous contact with the ground. It is a common condition and can occur in one or both feet.

This article looks briefly at the symptoms and causes of flat feet and then discusses a few remedies.

Causes of Flat Feet or Fallen Arches

Flat feet can be caused by numerous different factors, such as:

  • Genetics
  • Improper development (as in cerebral palsy and Down's Syndrome)
  • Diseases (Muscular dystrophy,  Diabetes, Marfan Syndrome)
  • Injury
  • Trauma

Symptoms of Flat Feet

Flat feet may cause no symptoms. However, should it become symptomatic, common symptoms include:

  • Pain inside the arch, heel, ankle, and on the outside of the foot below the ankle
  • Associated pain in the shin, knee, hip, and lower back
  • Swelling and tenderness around the ankle

Treatments for Flat Feet Pain

It is important to identify flat feet early in order to have any hope of correcting the condition. Otherwise, it can lead to complications. Treatment options for flat feet include using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), exercises, orthotics, and even surgery in extreme cases.


Two of the most helpful exercises are:

  • Tennis/Golf ball rolls While sitting straight in a chair with a tennis or golf ball under the affected feet, roll the ball under your foot, focusing on the arch. Continue for 2–3 minutes and then repeat on the opposite foot.
  • Calf raises While standing, attempt to stand on your toes, holding a chair for support. Hold the upper position for up to 5 seconds before lowering your heel back. Do 2–3 sets of 15–20 repetitions.


Custom orthotics provide support for the feet. Upstep orthotics are custom-designed to maintain the arch and alignment of the foot in order to relieve ankle, foot, leg, and back pain from flat feet and prevent further deformities.


When conservative management fails, surgical intervention is indicated. Surgery aims to create an arch in the feet by repairing the Achilles tendon and fusing the bones.

Relieving Pain of Flat Feet

Ultimately, once you can relieve the pain of flat feet, you can easily use orthotics to maintain the regular shape of the foot. So, ensure that immediate attention is given to relieving pain as soon as you begin to notice the symptoms.