Flat Feet vs High Arch

Flat Feet vs High Arch

Table of Contents

Among various foot deformities, there are two conditions that occur as a result of irregular arch development. One is quite common – flat foot, while the other is pretty rare – a high arch deformity. When it comes to flat feet vs. high arch, what are the differences in symptoms and treatment? If you want to find out, keep reading – we’ve explained everything in this text. 

Flat FeetThe Arch of the foot collapses and comes into contact with the groundGenetics, overuse, obesity, injury, certain diseases, aging, pregnancyPain and discomfort in feet and legs affects gait and balanceSpecial inserts, shoe modifications, physical therapy, surgery (in severe cases)
High ArchesThe Arch of the foot is raised and does not come into contact with the groundInheritedPain and discomfort in feet and legs affects gait and balanceSpecial inserts, shoe modifications, physical therapy, surgery (in severe cases)

How to Know If You Have Flat Feet or High Arches?

Both flat feet and high arches are deformities that involve the arch of the foot – but they are essentially the opposite conditions. A flat foot means that the arch is too low or nonexistent, while a high arch is exactly what the name suggests – the arch of the foot is uncharacteristically raised. Since these conditions look nothing alike, it’s easy to tell them apart – but you should still pay a visit to a trusted podiatrist who will diagnose your condition accurately. 

What Are Flat Feet Symptoms?

Most people with flat feet have no symptoms, but there are some who will experience various symptoms that will interfere with their everyday life. The main problem is pain in the feet (either in the arch or the heel) and ankles, and sometimes swelling of the ankles is present. As the condition worsens, a patient might start feeling pain in their knees and later on hips and lower back. All this is caused by the overpronation of the feet – which is a result of a low/nonexistent arch. 

What Are the Best Treatments for Flat Feet?

Flat feet are usually treated non-surgically. The treatments of choice include custom-made orthotics and physical therapy. If this doesn’t give any results and the symptoms persevere, flat feet reconstructive surgery is the only logical solution to the problem. Still, keep in mind that children aren’t candidates for this surgery, as they are still growing, and there is still a chance that the deformity can be fixed with conservative treatment.

What Are High Arch Symptoms? 

High arch, otherwise known as cavus foot, is almost always inherited or presents a symptom of a neurological disease (cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease are the most common ones). The biggest problem with high arches is that the foot is too rigid because of them. This leads to poor shock absorption when landing a foot. So, high arch symptoms include pain in the ball of the foot, pain in the heel, calluses, toes that are bent when standing, ankle instability, and trouble fitting into shoes. 

What Are the Best Treatments for High Arch?

When it comes to the treatment of high arches, there are many options available. First, your doctor will recommend trying non-surgical methods – custom orthotics, bracing, or night splints. Ice and pain medication can help keep symptoms under control. If the non-surgical methods don’t help improve the condition, then surgery is the next step. This procedure, just like the one for flat feet, includes various techniques that address structural problems with soft tissue like tendons and bones of the foot. 

Flat Feet vs. High Arch – What Are the Main Differences? 

Although both conditions present with sometimes severe pain in the foot, there are still a few differences between a flat foot and a high arch. For starters, they don’t look similar. Additionally, flat feet are commonly asymptomatic, which means that many patients will never seek a doctor’s help for this deformity. One in four Americans have flat feet – on the other hand, high arches are very rare. While high arches often cause pain in the foot itself, flat feet can cause pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and even lower back.

Flat Feet vs High Arch Main Differences

Consult Your Surgeon About Flat Feet and High Arch Problems

If you think you have one of these conditions, it’s essential to talk to a skilled and experienced doctor who will explain the problem to you and suggest the best course of action to get rid of the pain and fix the deformity. Our team at Luxe Foot Surgery clinic can ensure you get proper treatment and improve your quality of life – contact us to book your free consultation.


Is It Better to Have Flat Feet or High Arches?

Both flat feet and high arches are considered a deformity of the foot – neither is good for you. These conditions come with various symptoms – most notably, pain – which means that they often require treatment (still, flat feet can be asymptomatic as well).

How Do You Tell if You Have High or Flat Arches?

A simple way to distinguish between flat feet and high arches is by looking at your footprint. If it’s filled and you see an entire footprint, this means you have a flat foot. If it’s empty and you only see the ball of the foot and the heel, you have a high arch. 


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