Are Your Flat Feet Causing Your Knee Pain?

Introduction To Knee Pain

Learning about the causes of knee pain, hip pain and foot pain as we do here isn’t the most fun you can have. But the grown up truth is that being able to reliably and consistently move freely without the frustration or threat of pain is a lot of fun. All the activities, all the holidays, all the sports, all the care we provide others, and many of the jobs we do are enabled by the ability to move freely and comfortably.

If you are born with flat feet and you live in the modern urban world with its hard flat surfaces it can create major problems for your knees.

There is so much stress in the knee when we walk upright that at the moment we started doing it full time archeological digs show that our skeletons changed forever. The large bone ends that you have in your knees form a joint that is unmatched in surface area by any other joint in the body due to the stress of walking upright. This fact points to the truth of what an extreme life your knees live.

Image depicting knee pain that has been caused by flat feet.

The combination of walking upright on 2 legs, urban environments and flat feet can be a potent recipe for knee pain.

Even a moderately active lifestyle may leave you having taken 3 millions steps for each year that you live. With every step, your entire body weight literally slams through your heel bone. These forces are significant, and if they play out on paving or concrete they are magnified many times over. Even under ideal biomechanical circumstances these facts of life have the potential to be a superb recipe for knee pain and knee injuries. When things are less than ideal from a genetic standpoint (as is the case with flat feet) it can make matters a whole lot worse.

Flat Feet & Knee Pain

When we lived outdoors as a species there was almost always some arch support in the form of sand, soil or vegetation pushing up under our arches. If you live outdoors in bare feet, occasionally you might find yourself on very hard flat surfaces occasionally but they are the rare exception to the rule. Under ‘normal’ circumstances for human beings, if you have flat feet the contour of natural surfaces provides them with support.

The arches of your feet are like the suspension in a car. If you have flat feet you are adapted to rely heavily on Mother Nature for support. The industrial revolution removed this support because now you walk on paving, tarmac and concrete virtually all the time. This creates unnatural strain in your knees. Accumulating mechanical stress is a major cause of knee pain.

Custom Orthotics & Knee Pain

Custom insoles or orthotics are an excellent way of restoring natural foot support in knee pain sufferers. When you place orthotics, arch supports or insoles into your shoes, the arches have some of the mechanical support that they evolved to rely upon. The great news is that this reduction in strain can for many mean a reduction in knee pain.

Image to show fitting of custom orthotic insoles for knee pain caused by flat feet.

If you have knee pain and flat feet custom insoles could be a major part of the solution.

If you have such stubborn knee pain that custom orthotics etc don’t bring relief for, you may have an additional need for strengthening the muscles around the knee and hip. There are also many knee pain sufferers who have developed scar tissue around their knee joints.

Concluding Thoughts On Knee Pain

Whether your knee pain is caused by a classic combo of flat feet and a life spent on concrete floors, or some other issue like scar tissue from an old knee injury, it’s super necessary to seek help.

For those of us who place high value on living a relatively ‘normal’ active life and all the variety that comes with that, treatment and prevention of any knee pain we may have is a seriously important topic. I personally had alot of knee pain in my 20’s and I am so much happier now it is gone.

Much of life’s variety, fun, work, choice and wellbeing come about through movement, and to be able to move freely without knee pain, hip pain or foot pain is a basic freedom that we value greatly… although many of us still don’t realise that until it’s gone or at least under threat.

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