Flat feet


These guidelines have been produced to guide clinical decision making for general practitioners (GPs). They are not strict protocols. Clinical common-sense should be applied at all times. These clinical guidelines should never be relied on as a substitute for proper assessment with respect to the particular circumstances of each case and the needs of each patient. Clinicians should also consider the local skill level available and their local area policies before following any guideline.



Flat feet (Pes Planus) describes moderate to complete loss of the longitudinal arch of the foot and is a common finding. There are two types of flat feet.

Flexible flat feet

Flexible flat feet are those where the arch is absent when standing but returns when not weight bearing. This is common in young children and the majority will improve as the child grows.
No treatment is necessary and there is no increased likelihood of foot pain even if the condition continues into adulthood.

Pathological flexible flat feet may occur in a child who has hypermobility as part of a wider syndrome.

Rigid flat feet

Rigid flat feet are those where the foot is rigid and flat with no arch even when not weight bearing. This is abnormal in any age.

For current guidelines on assessment, management and referral guidelines on flat feet please visit HealthPathways WA

How to refer

  • Routine non-urgent referrals from a GP or a Consultant are made via the Central Referral Service
  • Routine non-urgent referrals from private hospitals are made via the PCH Referral Office
  • Urgent referrals (less than seven days) are made via the PCH Referral Office. Please call PCH Switch on 6456 2222 to discuss referral with the relevant Orthopaedic registrar.  

Reviewer/Team: Dr Kate Stannage, Orthopaedics Dept, PCH Last reviewed: Aug 2021

Review date: Aug 2024
Endorsed by:

CPAC Date:  Aug 2021

This document can be made available in alternative formats on request for a person with a disability.

Referring service