Are fallen arches a real foot problem? Are fallen arches a real foot problem, or just a label for chronically sore feet?

Foot and ankle surgeon James M. Cottom, DPM, FACFAS, says fallen arches –or flat feet– are a legitimate medical condition affecting five percent of Americans.

“Flat feet can be present at birth, or develop over decades of walking, running and overall time spent on the feet, especially on hard surfaces in the workplace,” says Cottom.

There are several types of flatfoot conditions that occur in adults. The most common type is adult-acquired flatfoot. It is caused by overstretching a tendon that supports the arch. Another common type is flexible flatfoot, in which the foot is flat when standing, but returns to a normal arch in non-weight-bearing positions.

“Flat feet can be very painful and make people avoid walking, running and exercise,” says Dr. Cottom. “But if you seek medical attention early, a foot and ankle surgeon may be able to prevent it from becoming a more serious foot problem.”

Dr. Cottom says treatments may include modifying of limiting activities, stretching exercises, custom shoe inserts, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications physical therapy and regenerative medicine options. If those techniques don’t work, he says a variety of surgical procedures may be considered to relieve pain and improve foot function.

To contact Dr. Cottom about flatfoot treatment or other painful foot conditions, call his office at 941.924.8777.

Dr. James Cottom is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Visit their Web site for reliable information on fallen arches and other conditions at or

Author Dr. James M. Cottom Dr. James M. Cottom DPM, FACFAS is the owner and Director of the Florida Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Surgical Fellowship in Sarasota, FL. Dr. Cottom has practiced in Sarasota since 2007 and completed his fellowship training at the prestigious Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center in Columbus, OH under the guidance 3 fellowship trained orthopedic foot & ankle surgeons. Dr. Cottom is a devoted patient advocate and is very involved in the most up to date technology in foot & ankle care and has published over 60 papers and book chapters in peer reviewed publications. Dr. Cottom also routinely lectures on cutting edge procedures both in the United States and internationally. Florida Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center has graduated 13 fellows to date who are leaders in the profession and located all over the United States.

Call Us Text Us
Skip to content