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Can You Join The Military with Wide Feet?

Can You Join The Military with Wide Feet?

Wide feet have long been considered a liability for someone who is considering joining the military. The question is, are wide feet automatically disqualifying, or are there any instances where this is not the case? This question has been raised over the years by many individuals who are hoping to join the military.

Can you join the military with wide feet?

Yes, you can join depending on the severity of the foot. The condition will not disqualify you unless it requires you to use orthotics and prescription shoes or if you suffer continuous pain when you walk or stand. The military is more worried about the symptoms other than that you have a fallen arch. The military will think twice about your ability to complete the tasks if you suffer pain while walking, running, or need inserts to perform appropriately.

You need a medical waiver to join your preferred military branch if you have flat feet syndrome. As long as you have not been diagnosed with pain or prescribed footwear, you should have no trouble presenting your waiver.  

Different branches of the military have specific activities and have distinct sets of physical requirements. They put these regulations in place since someone with a flat foot can develop foot problems during training.

Find out here what you need to know about wide feet and your chances of joining the armed forces.

What are wide feet, and how do you know you have them?

Wide feet are not a showstopper when joining the military, contrary to what some might think. Also known as flat feet, postural deformity characterizes the condition. The arches of the feet are flat, leaving your sole almost or entirely touching the floor.

Some people are born with the condition, which is known as congenital pes planus. Others may develop flat feet in life because of high blood pressure, weak arches, past surgeries on the tibial tendon, diabetes, or obesity, known as acquired pes planus.

You can do the footprint test at home to discover the type of arch you have.


  •  Add some water into a bowl.       
  • Insert your feet into the water.        
  • Place your foot on a dry surface like the floor or a piece of paper and step off of it.

If your foot is completely connected, it means you have wide feet.

Also, you can remove your shoes and stand firm on the floor with your hands against the wall. Then slowly use the tip of your toes to stand. If you do not observe any noticeable arch, then you have flat or wide feet.

As a medical condition, the podiatrist will help diagnose your flat feet. The medical examination includes procedures such as visual examination, MRI, or X-ray.

What are wide feet symptoms?

Most of the people suffering from flat foot syndrome do not show signs of adverse symptoms. Those who suffer from the condition have symptoms like:

  • Back and leg pain     
  • Painful feet after walking or running
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased foot movement

Cures and treatment of wide feet

Sometimes, wide foot syndrome can be detrimental. Doctors prescribe the following treatment and cure to bring relief:

  • Golf ball roll
  • Fitted insole
  • Heel cord stretching
  • Ankle braces
  • Well-fitted shoes
  • Weight loss

Who can’t join the military with wide feet?

The military regulations bar one from joining the military if you have the following flat foot conditions.

Symptomatic flat feet. You cannot serve if the conditions cause you persistent and severe physical pain. If you have a flat foot, but it does not cause pain, you can join the military. Also, if the pain goes away, you can still join the military afterward.

Asymptomatic flat foot. If your condition does not cause pain, but you need to wear orthopedic or prescriptive footwear to manage flat feet you cannot serve.

Only people who wear basic inserts can benefit.

Why the regulations?

Since military servicemen undergo rigid training, running, climbing, and marching, a flat foot can hinder them from functioning accordingly. Military trainees also travel a lot on foot.

The ligaments and tendons on the lower leg and foot form the arch and keep it intact. Weak tendons and ligaments lead to a fallen arch. Thus, the person suffers intense pain in the lower back, leg, feet, and skeletal structure. A weakened posture could also lead to discomfort.

Anyone wearing special footwear or orthotic inserts may find it challenging to maintain them hence becoming a liability during combat and operations situations.

Severe and mild Flat foot conditions cause a person to suffer impediments in the physical challenges. Standing for long, marching, and running can be challenging.

The battlefield and rescue operations may become riskier for flat-footed individuals since maintaining balance is difficult.

Also, the arch serves as the foot’s shock absorber. When it collapses, the joints, leg, and backbones absorb the shock, leading to shin fracture issues. The rigorous military training requires one to be fit or be admitted.

In addition, individuals with regular feet tend to perform better in physical activities, unlike flat-footed folks. This is because flat-footed people suffer pain in their ankles, feet, and knees. They are also likely to suffer knee and hip injuries.

What options do flat-footed people have?

Now you know the reason the military might disqualify a person with a flat foot. The army and the marines might not be the best options for flat-footed people. Most of their activities involve the feet; thus, painful feet or orthotics cause you not to be fit for service.

Although you might be asymptomatic while joining them, the amount of groundwork and training causes pain and discomfort down the lane.

The air force has plenty of jobs that do not require you to stand for an extended time. For instance, you may have to sit at a desk for hours if you join cyberspace operations, paralegal, or intelligence. It might be one of the best branches to join if you have wide feet.

Is Having Wide Feet a Disqualification From Joining the Military? The short answer to this question is no. It is not an automatic disqualification. However, there are times when wide feet may be considered a factor in deciding whether or not to allow someone to enlist.