Prevention and Treatment of Flat Feet

When you have flat feet, the entire sole of your foot touches the floor when you stand. While this may not seem like a cause for concern, this common condition can cause a structural imbalance in your body, which can lead to foot issues as well as ankle, knee, and hip problems. Here’s what you need to know about flat feet and how we can help you with this condition.

What is The Most Common Type of Flatfoot?

Flexible flatfoot is one of the most common types of flatfoot where the arches in your feet appear only when you lift them off the ground, and your soles touch the ground fully when you place your feet on the ground. It typically begins in childhood or adolescence and continues into adulthood. It usually occurs in both feet and progresses in severity throughout the adult years. As the deformity worsens, the soft tissues (tendons and ligaments) of the arch may stretch or tear and can become inflamed.

What Causes Flat Feet?

There are various causes for flat feet:

Genetics
Weak arches
Foot or ankle injury
Arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
Damage, dysfunction, or rupture of the posterior tibial tendon
Nervous system or muscle diseases, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or spina bifida

How Flat Feet Affect Your Health

Many people with flat feet find that it affects many aspects of their overall health. Because fallen arches or flat feet fail to give your feet the support they need, you’re more likely to experience foot pain.

A condition called plantar fasciitis is more common in people with flat feet as well. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the tendons in the feet are overstretched. This condition causes severe pain in the feet, especially in the morning.

Flat feet tend to cause another condition called overpronation, which is when the ankles roll inward while you’re walking. This can lead to foot and ankle pain.

Because your feet are the basis of support for your entire body, having flat feet and overpronation can cause problems with your spinal alignment. You may notice that you also have problems with your hips, knees, and lower back.

What Are the Treatment Options for Flat Feet?

Conservative treatment is effective in the vast majority of flat foot cases, and may include orthotics, splints, manipulation, casting, shoe recommendations, anti-inflammatory measures and special strengthening exercises. Surgery is rarely required and is reserved only for the most severe types of flat foot that do not respond to conservative therapy.

Here’s a look at some of conservative treatment options for flat feet:

1. Custom Orthotics

Unlike generic, over-the-counter devices, we make customized orthotics designed to fit the unique contours of your feet to provide better support and more effective results.

2. Supportive Shoes

Similar to custom orthotics, supportive shoes can improve the alignment of your body, provide additional arch support, and provide better cushioning for your feet. We can make personalized recommendations for the best footwear based on the support you need.

3. Foot Exercises

These special exercises focus on raising, lengthening, and strengthening your arches. A few common activities for fallen arches include heel stretches, arch lifts, and calf raises.

4. Physical Therapy

If you have flat feet because of an injury, poor form, or improper technique, we might suggest physical therapy. This treatment strategy focuses on restoring proper movement, alignment, and balance in your body.

Final Thoughts

Many people will wait to see a podiatrist until their foot pain becomes unbearable. The problem with this is that any damage done to the foot may already be irreversible or difficult to correct.

In the end, you need to see a podiatrist if the discomfort is keeping you from walking, standing, or exercising. The same applies if you find yourself favoring one foot over the other. By treating these conditions early, you may be able to prevent knee, hip, or lower back pain in later life.