Splayfoot: symptoms and treatment

Splayfoot is a deformity in which the transverse arch of the foot is sunken. In this case, the metatarsals do not point straight forward, but diverge. The bones straighten outward so that the foot visually widens and closed shoes can become too tight for the foot. The permanent outward alignment of the bones can lead to inflammation, pain, as well as other misalignments that can affect not only the feet, but also the knees, back, as well as other parts of the body.


Splayfoot can occur for a number of reasons. The causes can be attributed to malpositions (e.g. of the legs or in the area of the back), wearing unsuitable footwear, incorrect gait, as well as congenital anatomical irregularities.

Foot Ball Pain Physiotherapy Practice Berlin-Mitte Christian Marsch
Foot Ball Pain Physiotherapy Practice Berlin-Mitte Christian Marsch

During the development of a splayfoot, the body apparatus adapts to the increasing displacement of the foot bones, which is why an irreparable malformation can occur. Affected individuals increasingly walk on the outside edge of the foot, which may be evident in the wear and tear of shoes. In this gait, the rolling and pushing off of the foot gets into an irregularity where the central foot is unloaded, but the gait is so lopsided that the load shifts to the outer foot. In the process, the joints, tendons and ligaments suffer. A thankless side effect is the regression of the fat pads under the balls of the feet, which can cause severe pain.


The spread of the foot bones towards the outer foot brings many consequences. It is not uncommon for malformations to occur in the toe area (e.g. claw toe) or nerves to become pinched. Calluses can also develop on the sole of the foot, which can cause pain. Most often, the pain shifts to the midfoot, although other areas of the foot, as well as other parts of the body, such as the legs, hips or back, may be affected.

Therapy for splayfoot

The splayfoot can be strongly or weakly developed. A physical therapist can determine the cause through a physical examination and initiate non-surgical measures.

Splayfoot Symptoms Treatment Physiotherapy Practice Berlin Mitte Christian Marsch
Splayfoot Symptoms Treatment Physiotherapy Practice Berlin Mitte Christian Marsch

Diagnosis involves the condition of the foot, the mobility of the ankle, the back , and other factors such as obesity. Depending on the cause of the pain, wearing an adapted shoe sole can already ensure that the foot rolls correctly again and moves in the right direction. Gait analysis can also provide information on whether posture and gait are conducive to the anatomical condition, allowing adjustments to be made.

And again, the sooner symptoms are responded to, the sooner malformations and pain can be addressed.

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