Can you join the Military with Flat Feet?

Flat feet is one of the most common foot problems that affects around 8 million youngsters in the US. It is a physical condition that is characterized as a loss of arch in one or both feet. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of the population go through this flat feet problem once in their lifetime.

Flat feet could be of two types. One type is such that it doesn’t affect daily life activities along with no negative impacts. However, the other one could be worse and could cause huge trouble for many.

Under such circumstances, many people with flat feet wonder if they’re eligible to join the military (or many other special forces) or not.

The short and most probable answer is yes they can. Flat feet is no longer a disqualifying factor for military enrollment.  If you’re living in 2020 onwards, it’s possible for you to join the military with flat feet.

However, if you have symptomatic flat feet, then there are fewer chances for you to join the military. In other words, it means that if you experience any detrimental symptoms like pain in the feet, ankle, or swelling, it is going to lessen your chances for military enlistment.

History of flat feet in Military

Back in the early days, people had this myth that one cannot join the military with flat feet. The myth used to be true until the end of World War 2. For most people with flat feet, their career would end even before they would start. That was because of the prevalence of flat feet in the population.

The exact time and dates are not mentioned anywhere of when did the flat feet was removed from disqualifying factors for the military. However, according to the most authentic evidence available, it is said to be done back in the times of World War 2 and the beginning of the Vietnam War.

How did things change?

You must have been wondering what lead to this huge shift in enlistment rules. Well, if you go through Vietnam War history, you would find a huge lack of enlistee for the war due to massive unpopularity.

People with flat feet found it a blessing because they were not forced to join the war. But the contentment didn’t last long as the rulers decided to alter the rules.

The rulers were short on enlistees, and it caused much trouble for them. So under such circumstances, flat feet were removed from the list of disqualifying factors. Now people with flat feet were able to join the military and serve the nation.

Why was flat feet a disqualifying factor for the military?

It was due to two reasons that flat feet were one of the disqualifying factors for the military.

Firstly, people used to think that people with flat feet belong to the poor class. They were seen as low class people who don’t have any value or authority. Moreover, it was also believed that flat feet people have poor health.

On the other hand, people with high arches were seen as those who belong to the high class. They were seen as strong people with good health and full of vigor.

These myths sustain the passage of time because many physicians believed that flat feet could cause trouble on long marches and tough military practices. Additionally, it was also considered that people with flat feet have weak bodies that were not perfect for war zones.

How to check if you have flat feet?

There are several ways to check if you have flat feet or not. One of the most common things is to get yourself tested by a professional podiatrist. This kind of testing involves medical exams that could be a visual examination or some kind of X-ray. In rare cases, an MRI is also carried out to find the exact foot problem.

Apart from these ways, you can also carry out different tests at home. These tests will help you identify if you have flat feet or not.

Footprint test

footprint test


The first technique is this footprint test. This test will most probably provide you authentic results about your flat feet.

All you need is a dish of water, a small white paper and a foot of course.

  •         First of all, take off your shoes or any foot accessories.
  •         Pour water into the baking dish to half fill it.
  •         Put your foot into the water and soak it.
  •         Take out your feet from the water and place them on the white paper.
    •         Step off the paper and you’re done. 


If you have a fully connected footprint onto the paper, that means you have flat feet. However, if your foot is partially connected, it means that you have normally arched feet.

Tiptoes test

Another test that you can take to identify your flat feet is the tiptoe test. You don’t need anything for this test. Simply stand straight onto your feet and you can do it.

  •         Remove your socks, shoes, or any other foot accessories.
  •         Stand straight onto the floor.
  •         Put your hands onto the wall or any chair for balance and support.
  •         Slowly put your weight and stand onto your tiptoes.


If you see that there is no arch in your foot, then it means you have flat feet.

What causes flat feet?

There could be more than one reason that causes flat feet. Some reasons are genetic, while others could be acquired.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

PTTD is a medical condition that affects one of the most crucial tendons of the foot; the posterior tibial tendon. That’s from where its name is generated. If a person has flat feet caused by PTTD, he/she may feel pain in the foot or along the back calf.

The tendons present in the foot are mainly responsible for supporting the arch. If the tendons are torn or get injured, it can lead to a collapsed arch. This way, the person can acquire flat feet that is painful, especially when walking or standing.


Injuries are one of the common causes that lead to physical disabilities. Flat feet can also be caused by injury, regardless of how major or minor it is. If the injury affects the tendons in your foot, there are higher chances of the arch collapsing.

Lisfranc injury is the kind of injury that affects the middle of the foot. This is highly painful and can cause serious trouble for the bearer.

Apart from injuries, the severe workout can also cause flat feet. That is why sportsmen and athletes have a higher rate of flat feet than other people


Obesity is one of the most common causes of adult-acquired flat feet. As the body gain weight, the pressure on the feet increases. This increased pressure can cause the arch to collapse, ultimately leading to flat feet.

The arches are responsible for bearing body weight and also act as the shock absorbers. When the strain increases on arches, they can collapse.

According to research, obesity and flat feet have a strong connection with the former highly affecting the latter. So if you lose weight, you will see a clear difference in your flat feet condition.

If you lose weight, its going to relieve many other health conditions along with flat feet. As the weight goes down, it provides better blood flow to the feet along with dispersing the pressure.


The next major cause of flat feet in adults is diabetes. Most people are aware of what diabetes is and how it can affect your body. A person who is diabetic has a higher chance of developing foot problems and infections.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis is one of the painful body conditions and people who have experienced it, know it very well. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the types of arthritis that can cause flat feet. In this arthritis, the cartilage becomes inflamed and causes the foot to lose its arch.

Rheumatoid is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and inflames the joints, especially the foot joints.

Marfan’s syndrome

Marfan’s syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissues. It is usually diagnosed in the late 30s as the body starts to grow older.

Leg length inequality

Last but not least is this condition in which one leg is bigger than the other one. This can cause the longer leg to put more pressure on the foot in order to compensate for the inequality. This way, one foot can become flattened while the other remains normal.

Bottom line

As we have mentioned earlier that you can join the military with flat feet. However, there are still some conditions that need to be fulfilled. If you have any negative symptoms caused by flat feet or any other foot condition, it can lessen your military enlistment chances.

Military or any other special force is not concerned about your flat feet. The major concern is the symptoms and negative effects of flat feet that can decrease the overall performance.

However, there are several ways to make things better for you. Click here to read our guide on how to fix flat feet at home. It might help you eliminate the symptoms and fulfill your dream of joining the military.


You can ensure the accuracy of our information and content by clicking on the added sources. We adhere to strict sourcing guidelines related to medical associations and statistical research. Ensuring avoidance of data that could be misleading as to any matter of fact is our priority.

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