The answer is in your genes. Most people with flat feet will look around their family and find someone who has a similar foot shape. About one in every nine people has a low arch or no arch at all. The majority of teens with the condition are considered perfectly normal and function perfectly well. Everyone’s feet start out flat as babies, and arches should finish developing in the teen years.

Flat feet usually aren’t a problem. Sometimes they can cause pain, especially when the feet are inflexible and stiff. In those cases, orthotics (special shoe inserts, measured and provided by a podiatrist) can help. Even healthy flat feet can use extra support at times, as when teens have a job standing on their feet all night making pizza. Flat feet shouldn’t prevent you from doing anything, he adds. We see some very fast runners and outstanding athletes with flat feet.

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