If the only thing you know about flat feet is that they'll keep you out of the military, you've got a lot to learn. For one thing, that's a myth.
While it might have been the case once upon a time, it's not necessarily true now. It is true that flat feet can lead to all sorts of problems with the feet, ankles and back. But it doesn't have to be that way. There's plenty we can do to help support the feet and avoid problems.
Feet are considered flat when the arch is flattened or the foot pronates excessively when you stand.
Have you ever looked at your footprints in the sand? Was there a space in your arch? If not, then you may have flat feet.
You might not experience any pain or problems or you might experience pain in the heel or arch area, ankle swelling or a difficulty standing on your tippy toes or for long periods of time.
Some people are just born with flat feet, while others have normal arches that gradually flatten over time. Acquired flatfoot can be the result of
- A particularly tight Achilles tendon
- Abnormal sitting or sleeping positions when you were little
- The general wear and tear that comes with age
- By trying to compensate for other leg or foot problems
- If you're obese, you are also at a higher risk of developing flat feet.
Does your child complain that their legs are tired after playing? Or do they seem to need to sit down after just playing on the playground for a short period of time? This could be a sign that your child's feet are flat or they have increased mobility causing them to fatigue earlier. If this is the case, we can offer many solutions to help support their feet and protect their growing joints.
This can lead to a wide array of conditions including:
- plantar fasciitis
- plantar fibroma
- heel spurs
- shin splints
- ankle sprains
- early arthritis
- pain in the arches, knee, hip and lower back.
That's not a pretty list, right? The good news is that these things don't have to happen. Call our office for an appointment and we'll help you avoid this litany of foot issues.
For patients that have or are developing flat feet that are causing pain, our first course of action is to figure out what's causing the arches to flatten. We'll examine your feet, how you walk and stand, and may take an X-ray to get a better look.
Most patients with flat feet react well to non-invasive treatments like orthotics, shoe recommendations, anti-inflammatory medications, bracing for chronic conditions and exercises designed to strengthen the foot. In most cases, the orthotics need to be custom-made to fit your feet to really help the problem, so we don’t recommend just picking some up at Walgreen’s. Think of those as ‘foot pillows.’
Surgery is rarely necessary but may be an option for severe cases that do not respond to more conservative treatments.
Hyprocure surgery is also available by Dr. Amy Barko, our podiatiatric surgeon.
It's important to note that kids don't typically develop arches until about age four, so if your child's feet are flat, there's probably nothing to worry about while they are young.
Because children grow so rapidly, you need a quality, but inexpensive way to treat their feet. Little Steps are a great option.
However, if you have flat feet, your children are prone to develop them, so keep an eye out.
This is extremely important, as you can prevent them from the aches and pains you are currently experiencing.
For adults, flat feet will lead to pronation. Pronation is just a fancy name for the foot rolling inward as you walk. Some people may develop over-pronation, which is really bad pronation.
The body is a well-oiled machine and every single little piece of you is designed to work with another piece of you.
So when something like the alignment of your ankles is thrown off, it impacts just about everything. The bones in the feet can actually shift over time, and the muscles and tendons in the leg and ankle will twist.