Flat Feet – Protect Your Feet From Pain
The design of the foot is strong, flexible and functional. Our feet need to be healthy in order to bear the weight and pressures that are exerted on them throughout the day. Most people have a gap at the arch of their foot when they stand up, which is slightly raised off the ground.
However, those with flat feet or fallen arches either have no arch, or it is very low. If this is the case, your feet may roll over the inner side when you stand or walk. A significant number of people with flat feet experience no pain and have no complications, but some may experience pain in their feet, especially when the connecting ligaments and muscles are strained.
With 26 different bones in each foot, held together by 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, our feet are incredibly well specialized structures. Together, every join, bone, muscle, tendon and ligament weave and align together to determine the formation of our arches.
How do I Know if I have Flat Feet?
Flat feet are a complex disorder, with diverse symptoms and varying degrees of deformity and disability. Although some people have no signs or symptoms associated with flat feet, some people may experience the following:
* Foot pain, particularly in the heel or arch area
* Difficulty standing on tiptoes
* Swelling along the inside of the ankle
* Uneven wear in shoes
Flat feet are generally associated with a leaning inward of the anklebones toward the centerline. When wearing shoes, they will lean toward each other after they have been worn long enough for the foot to remold their shape. Painful progressive flatfoot, or tibialis posterior tendonitis, refers to inflammation of the tendon of the tibialis posterior. Arising when the tendon becomes inflamed, stretched, or torn if left untreated may lead to severe disability and chronic pain.
Other characteristics may include a toe drift, which is when the toes and front part of the foot point outward rather than straight forward. The heel may also tilt toward the outside and the ankle may appear to turn inwards. Bunions and hammertoes may develop, as well.
Some of the common causes of flat feet include, but are not limited to:
* Family history
* Weak arch
* Tibialis posterior (ruptured tendon)
* Nervous system or muscle diseases
* Age and wear and tear
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your podiatrist will first examine your foot to observe how it looks when you stand and sit, while X-rays are usually taken to determine the severity of the disorder. If you experience symptoms with flat feet, your podiatrist may recommend non-surgical treatment options, such as:
* Activity modifications
* Weight loss
* Orthotic devices
* Physical therapy
* Shoe modification
In some patients, pain may not be relieved by conventional methods. When this happens, your podiatrist may consider surgery. A variety of surgical techniques are available to correct flat feet, and one or a combination of procedures may be required to relieve the symptoms and improve foot function.
Plantar Fasciitis Help
Whether you were born with flat feet or you acquired fallen arches over time, if your flat feet are causing you problems, talk with your podiatrist in East Side about treatments for the pain. He can work with you to determine the best techniques to eliminate the pain, improve your mobility and get you back on your feet to enjoy the activities you love.