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Abridged from www.webmd.com
If you look at an adult foot from the inside, you’ll usually notice an upward curve in the middle. This is called an arch. Tendons — tight bands that attach at the heel and foot bones — form the arch. Several tendons in your foot and lower leg work together to form the arches in your foot.
When the tendons all pull the proper amount, then your foot forms a moderate, normal arch. When tendons do not pull together properly, there is little or no arch. This is called flat foot or fallen arch.
Test Yourself for Flat Feet
You can easily test yourself to see if you might have fallen arches or flat feet. Follow these three steps:
Many young children have flat feet, a condition referred to as flexible flat feet. When the child stands, the feet look flat. But when the child rises to his or her toes, a slight arch appears. In most cases, as children grow older, the arches develop.
Causes of Flat Feet and Fallen Arches
Flat feet in adults can arise from a variety of causes. Here are the most common:
Many people have flat feet — and notice no problems and require no treatment. But others may experience the following symptoms:
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time for a trip to the doctor.