Are Your Flat Feet Causing Your Knee Pain?

Medical infographic showing the effects of a flat arch, a normal arch and a high arch on bone structure and ankle positioning

Olga Bolbot/Shutterstock

The Framingham study group, best known for it’s large heart health study, is turning out to be a treasure trove of orthopedic data as well. This is the group that figured out that knee meniscus tears are as common and about as significant in middle aged and elderly people as grey hair. Now they’ve taken a look at the relationship between the position of the foot/ankle and pain in the rest of the leg.

They studied thousands of people with flat and high arched feet as well as those with a neutral foot/ankle versus those who pronated or supinated. What did they find? A flat feet knee pain relationship. High arches weren’t associated with knee pain, but were associated with ankle pain. Having a pronated or supinated foot didn’t seem to impact the knee or other areas.

How does this compare to other studies I’ve blogged? This study is consistent with another large study in 2011 which showed the same relationship between flat feet and knee pain. However, a much smaller Danish study did find a link in younger people (high school age) between foot pronation and knee cap pain.

The upshot? These Framingham data sets are so large that when they publish a study showing a link between x and y, people take note. So when they say that your flat feet may be causing your knee pain, you should at least consider it. How would this work? The arch is a key shock absorbing structure, so perhaps loss of the arch leads to more shock being transmitted to the knee? There may also be nerve related mechanisms as I’ve blogged before. While this isn’t the final word on this topic, it’s a convincing salvo in how your body is connected. In addition, oftentimes to understand why you hurt in a certain area you have to look at the function of the whole. If you want to learn more on these topics, take some time to read our practice’s e-book, Orthopedics 2.0.

Learn about Regenexx procedures for foot & ankle conditions.
Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, please email us at [email protected]

NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

Get Blog Updates by Email

We do not sell, or share your information to third party vendors.

By submitting the form you agree that you’ve read and consent to our Privacy Policy. We may use email, phone, or other electronic means to communicate information about Regenexx.

We will provide information to help you decide whether you want to schedule an evaluation with a Regenexx Physician.

Insurance typically covers evaluations and diagnostic testing (if recommended). Most insurance plans currently do not cover Regenexx Procedures.

Regenexx Logo
Copyright © Regenexx 2022. All rights reserved.



9035 Wadsworth Pkwy #1000
Westminster, CO 80021


*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.