If you have pain or discomfort in your feet or ankle joints, you might have flat feet.
The arch, or instep, is the middle part of the foot that’s usually raised off the ground when you stand, while the rest of the foot remains flat on the ground. If you have flat feet, however, a fallen arch causes your foot to roll inwards and your entire sole comes close to touching the ground.
A flat foot, also known as pes planus, is normal in infants and toddlers, because the foot’s arch hasn’t yet developed. These arches typically develop throughout childhood, but some people never develop arches, which can lead to flat foot disorder.
Arches can also fall over time due to overall wear and tear that weakens the tendon that runs along the inside of your ankle and helps support your arch.
With a fallen arch, your tendons and ligaments weaken and cause intense pain throughout your feet, ankles, and lower leg muscles, especially in the region of your arch and heel.
“If you are suffering from flat feet, it means that you have a biomechanical fault in the mid-tarsal region,” said Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum of Delray Beach Podiatry. “When this happens, the arch is not actually present and, upon ambulation, the arch will flatten out. This creates a lot of soft tissue problems and joint problems later on in life.”
Flat feet can also contribute to problems in your ankles and knees because the condition can alter the alignment of your legs. If you aren’t having pain, no treatment is usually necessary for flatfeet. Additionally, if left untreated, the condition can also lead to weakened posture and discomfort through your hips and lower back.
SYMPTOMS OF FLAT FEET
- Children may have foot pain, ankle pain, or lower leg pain
- Tired or achy feet after long periods of standing or playing sports
- Strained posture, especially in the hips and lower back
- Get your feet wet.
- Stand normally on a flat surface where you can see the imprint of your feet.
- Step away from your imprints and look at the wet marks.
TREATMENT FOR FLAT FEET
In older children and adults, flexible flat feet that do not cause pain or walking problems do not need further treatment.
If you have pain due to flat feet, however, the following may help:
- Have an arch-support orthotic for your shoes crafted by a podiatrist. Although these products can be purchased over-the-counter, it’s important to see a doctor if you want the best fit possible. “In adults, you can really only accommodate the problem with orthotics or choosing the right type of shoe,” said Dr. Goldbaum.
- Some people with flat feet also have a shortened Achilles tendon. Exercises to stretch this tendon may help.
- Wear a structurally supportive shoe for better arch support.
- If you are a runner, a physical therapist can do a video analysis of how you run to help you improve your form and technique.
- It is important to maintain a healthy weight as obesity can exacerbate the problems caused by flat feet.
If non-surgical treatments are not working for you, talk to a podiatrist or orthopedic doctor. Surgery can help stabilize your foot and ankle bones and aid with foot support.
MORE FROM DELRAY BEACH PODIATRY
Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry
The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from www.DelrayBeachPodiatry.com without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:
16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445
8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472