Flat feet, also called fallen arches, can cause a variety of problems. It is important to recognize flat feet and to understand how to treat them.
What Are Flat Feet?
The arch of a foot is created by tendons that run along the bottom of the foot, attaching the heel bone to the foot bones. When the tendons do not pull tight enough, this causes a relaxation of the arch, called flat foot or fallen arches. Your podiatrist can tell if you have flat feet, but a simple way to find out for yourself is to create foot prints. If you can see your complete footprint, you may have flat feet.
How Are Flat Feet Caused?
There are many reasons why feet could be flat. There could be an abnormality in the tendons that has been present from birth, or damage could have caused them to relax. Inflamed tendons, broken bones, or dislocations are all problems that could lead to relaxed tendons. Other issues like rheumatoid arthritis and nerve problems may cause this, as well. There are also conditions that may increase the risk of fallen arches. Pregnancy, obesity, and aging are a few associated conditions.
What Do Flat Feet Feel Like?
Feet that do not have normal arches can cause feet to tire easily, cause pain, and limit mobility. Pain in the arches and heels is common. Not only does it cause pain for walking, jogging, etc. but the pain and limited movement may even lead to pain up in the legs and eventually the back. Pain and swelling in the arches is common, especially in the morning or after a period of rest. Standing on the toes and similar movements are also made more difficult with flat feet.
How Are Flat Feet Treated?
For flat feet that cause pain and difficulty with foot movement, treatment may be recommended by your doctor. Exercises and physical therapy may be recommended to stretch the tendons. Anti-inflammatory medication, rest, and ice may be recommended to reduce pain and swelling. Depending on how much pain and swelling there is, your doctor may want to inject a corticosteroid. Orthotic insoles or braces are other options for conservative treatment. For more severe cases, surgical procedures may be considered. Tendon grafts, bone grafts, and other procedures are able to be done to develop higher arches, depending on what will help each individual case.
If your feet are in severe pain or interfering with your daily life, it is time to see your podiatrist.