Understanding Flat Feet

The term “flat feet” quite literally means that the arches on the inside of your feet are flat, making it possible for the entire soles of your feet to touch the floor when standing. Flat feet is typically a painless condition, but some people with flat feet experience foot pain, especially in the arch or heel. Sometimes the arch of your foot can be flexed and manipulated, or your arch may be rigid. If you aren’t having pain, it usually isn’t necessary to treat flat feet. However, sometimes flat feet can cause complications in your ankles and knees because it can change way your legs align.

The symptoms of flat feet include:

  • Arch fatigue and pain
  • Outer-ankle pain
  • Heels that rotate outward
  • Lack of arch height
  • Heel and knee pain
  • Bunions
  • Foot arthritis

What Causes Flat Feet?
Your genetics ultimately decide how your bones are formed and come together. You may be born with flat feet, or your arches may fall over time. Flat feet can also be caused by a number of other things – obesity, a tight or short achilles tendon, joints that aren’t properly connected at birth, an inward tilt at the ball of your foot, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, sports injuries, ill-fitting shoes, and heel fractures.

When to See Your Doctor
If you experience pain, an interference with walking or activities, difficulty fitting into shoes, swelling, or a change in the appearance of your foot, a visit your doctor may be in order. Wear your everyday shoes so your doctor can look at how the type of shoe you wear may be affecting your pain. He or she will ask you to locate where it hurts and to describe the type of pain. You may also be asked if you’ve tried arch supports and if you’re able to stand on tiptoe on one foot.

Treatment
Flat feet can be treated a number of ways. In order to control the motion of the affected joints and minimize any pain you have, your doctor may recommend braces, physical therapy, custom molded shoe inserts (orthotics), or resting for an extended period of time. If your flat feet are causing excessing pain and fatigue, and if all other treatment measures have been ineffective, your doctor may recommend surgery to reconstruct the arch and reposition the heel bone.

For more information about diagnosing and treating flat feet, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us or call 310.651.2366.

 

Posted in: Foot Conditions, Uncategorized

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