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Congenital or acquired flatness of the arch of the foot, in which the foot and heel usually also roll outward, resulting in a splayfooted position. Initially, it may result from ligament stretching and muscle weakness. Later, altered shape of the bones may make the deformity rigid. In a few cases it seems to result from excessive weight or an injury. Symptoms may include pain, spasm, and awkward gait, but many patients have no disability or pain. Treatment to correct arch and heel position employs proper shoes and muscle strengthening; arch supports are indicated only for severe pain or excessive fatigue.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on flatfoot, visit Britannica.com.