Flat Feet Explained. Characteristics of Rigid and Functional Flat Foot.

Jun 29th 2023

As the foundation of our body, our feet bear the full weight of all our daily activities. They support us while we're standing, walking, running, or even dancing. The condition known as "flat feet" is affecting millions worldwide. It comes in two major types - rigid flat feet and functional flat feet. Understanding the difference between the two is very important for choosing the right orthotic insole for you.

Flat feet, medically known as pes planus, is a condition where the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened, resulting in the entire sole of your foot to touch the floor when you stand up. The condition can be congenital (present at birth) or can develop over time due to various factors such as age, injury, or extra weight. Common symptoms include foot pain, particularly in the heel or arch area, swelling along the inside of the ankle, and feet fatigue. What are the differences?

Functional or Flexible Flat Feet

Functional flat feet (also called Flexible) appear flat only when bearing weight. Arch appears when a person is sitting or in another position with no pressure applied on foot. This is often the result of over-pronation (an inward rolling of the foot), muscle or ligament weakness, rather than bone structure. Symptoms are usually less severe than rigid flat feet and might only occur after long periods of weight-bearing activities. The long-term effects of functional flat feet are usually less severe but can still lead to discomfort and foot fatigue if not properly addressed. Most people develop this condition over time, making it the most common type of flat feet.

Most of pedag® orthotic insoles are designed to treat functional flat feet. Our line of Viva insoles (except Viva Low), Magic Step Plus, Sneaker Magic Step, Siesta, Energy and Outdoor, Holiday, Relax, Worker and Plantar Fasciitis all are proven effective treating flexible flat feet condition.

Rigid Flat Feet

Rigid flat feet means the foot has no arch whether bearing weight or not. This type is often associated with a congenital condition, meaning a person was born with it. It can be caused by a bone abnormality. Symptoms may include persistent foot pain, difficulty with foot movement, and often, an awkward walk. Untreated, rigid flat feet can potentially lead to complications, including chronic pain, arthritis, or problems in the ankles and knees due to altered foot biomechanics. It may sometimes require surgical intervention.

Our best pedag® product specifically designed for rigid flat feet is Viva Low. Sensitive insole may also help.

We always recommend to consult with a healthcare provider or podiatrist. They can diagnose the type of flat feet and offer professional advice.