A common misconception is that people considering joining the army with flat feet will be denied. This view dates back to the Vietnam War when flat feet would mean people could become delisted from army recruitment. The reason for this is that flat feet cause pain with prolonged standing and running. The good news is this is no longer the case for everyone with flat feet wanting to join the army.
What Does it Mean if You Have Flat Feet?
Flat feet means when the feet roll in. This may occur from the arch falling, the ankle rolling in, or both. Typically, you will notice an arch when raising onto your toes, but this flattens when standing.
In order to join the army, an assessment will need to be undertaken by the Army Medical Recruiter. If they deem a candidate to have flat feet, they will request a further assessment by a qualified Podiatrist . A podiatrist will assess your lower limb function, and foot pain, to determine if your flat feet will impact any duties.
Types of Flat Feet
There are two types of flat feet, a rigid flat foot and a flexible flat foot.
Rigid flat feet mean the ligaments surrounding the joints are more tightly packed and do not have much movement. The arch appears flat when sitting and standing and does not change much. This type of flat foot is less adaptable when walking. It is more likely to predispose you to foot and ankle pain, and even back and lower limb pain.
A flexible flat foot means the ligaments around the joints are flexible and therefore the joints move easier. This means when sitting and raising onto your toes, you may notice an arch. However when the foot lowers to the ground the arch flattens. Flexible flat feet are less likely to predispose to lower limb pain.
What Can You Do About Flat Feet?
At Well Heeled Podiatry we will assess a range of different factors effecting flat feet.
This will include daily exercise and activity schedule, lower limb range of motion, gait, lower limb strength, footwear assessment and wear patterns. From there we will determine if your lower limb function will predispose you to pain.
Fortunately, many treatments exist for flat feet. This can include home stretching and strengthening program, footwear modification and orthotic prescription. Treatments available for flat feet aim to help support the arch and promote good foot function.
If you are planning on joining the army with flat feet that are painful, we recommend coming in for an assessment. This will ensure you are all ready when assessed by your Medical Officer at time of recruitment.