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Know the Answer: Can You Join the Military with Flat Feet?

Those who are flat-footed but eager to join the military service might be hearing this question over and over: can you join the military with flat feet? There are specific regulations before one becomes admitted in the military and one of the most common concerns is the eligibility of flat-footed persons.

However, these regulations vary according to the laws of a certain country. Flat footedness is a condition that can affect your eligibility but still, it depends on the severity of your foot’s condition.

Can you join the military with flat feet?

This is not a myth as there are plenty of valid reasons why flat-foot persons are not being allowed in the military. Because of the various regulations surrounding the flat foot condition, many used it as an excuse not to join the army. However, there are several stipulations to this.

You can tell that you have a flat foot if the arches of it flatten out instead of remaining arched or simply when the arch is lower than the usual. While this condition could be extremely painful for some people, others can still live a normal life with the aid of corrective footwear.

Some people are born with it. The severity of this condition which is also known as the fallen arches, typically dictates whether a flat footed person can serve in the army. New recruits are being examined by a doctor from the military who decide if someone is fit to serve.

How Flat Foot is Being Rated

If you are born with a flat foot but you are able to function well without pain, it can’t be rated and you still can join the military service. According to US military’s regulations, there are two instances which, indicate that a flat-footed person is not able to meet their physical requirements.

First is the Symptomatic flat foot, which refers to the condition wherein the person experiences persistent and severe pain. It can be the result of physical activities which causes deformities and pain in the foot thus, a person cannot serve the army. He or she can still join the military if the pain stops afterward.

Second called asymptomatic flat foot which is not painful but that person is required to wear inserts or arch support to manage their flat feet or to relieve the pain.

Basic inserts are allowed but if you have orthopaedic or prescriptive inserts and footwear, you will be out of the military. This is rated 0% and considered mild.

A person has moderate flat foot if he or she experiences persisting pain and cannot be relieved by inserts. This is rated by 10%.

The condition is considered severe if the deformity of the foot is obvious; there is swelling and extreme pain and calluses are forming in unusual areas. People with worst flat foot condition experiences Achilles tendon spasms. Orthotic devices, inserts, and arch supports cannot relieve this type of condition and is rated at 50%.

Why is this Condition Being Regulated?

This condition is being regulated in all military agencies because of the following factors.

  •  In a normal foot, the arch is curved upward. The ligaments and tendons on you lower leg and foot help to form the arch which also keeps it intact. The arch will collapse (fallen arch) if your tendons and ligaments weaken.
  • Apparently, a fallen arch means weak tendons and ligaments thus, the person is prone to intense pain in his lower leg, back and feet and problems in his skeletal structure. It can also weaken his posture and could cause him discomfort.
  • Military servicemen undergo rigid training, climbing, running and marching and having flat feet can hinder them to function accordingly. They also travel by foot a lot.
  • Likewise, wearing special footwear or orthotic inserts is difficult to maintain and people who are wearing them could be a liability during operations and combat situations.
  • Having mild to severe condition of flat feet can cause that person impediments in the physical challenges that he is about to face as a soldier. Marching, running and standing for longer periods could be extremely challenging for him. Battlefields and rescue operations tend to become riskier if you are flat-footed as it is also difficult for you to maintain your balance.
  • Likewise, our arch serves as our feet’s shock absorber. When it collapses, your joints, back and leg bones will do the absorption which can lead to other issues such as shin fracture. With the army’s rigorous training, one has to be physically fit before he or she becomes admitted.
  • Some medical research has shown that a flat-footed individual tends to perform below at par in physical activities compared to those who have a normal foot. This is due to the pain in their foot, ankle and knees. They are also prone to knee and hip injuries.

In a study by Israel Defense Forces has shown that those recruits with high arches tend to suffer more stress fractures compared to those with lowest arches. This is due to the fact that people with fallen arches tend to absorb ground shocks through their joints and leg bones.


So what’s the answer to this question: Can you join the military with flat feet? The answer is that it depends on the severity of the foot. This condition is not disqualifying unless the person is required to use prescription shoes and orthotics likewise if that person suffers continuous pain when walking or standing.

We now know that the reason for the exclusion of flat feet persons in the army is simple. Most of their activities involve the feet so having a painful flat foot or wearing orthotics will make someone not fit for the service.

For more queries about this regulation, you can simply leave a comment here.

Sara Smith

My name is Sara Smith, the proud owner of the blog and the writer of all the articles that you can see on this website. It is my goal to share my knowledge to all of you and to provide valuable learnings in one way or another.

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