Why Are Flat Feet A Problem
By Amelia Son, PTA
Why are Flat Feet a Problem?
The quick answer is that flat feet are not a problem for most people. Flat feet are really common and the majority of people do not have issues with their flat feet. But in some people, flat feet can lead to pain in the feet, knees, hips, and back. That’s why flat feet can be a problem for some people.
What are Flat Feet?
Flat feet are when the entire soles of your feet touch the floor when you stand. People with flat feet have little to no arches on the inside of their feet. While usually painless, it can contribute to problems down the line with your ankles and knees due to alignment issues. For most, flat feet develop during childhood due to a lack of development of arches. While some develop flat feet after an injury, others develop it later on in life due to wear-and-tear and standing on their feet for long periods during their life. It is caused by the tendon that holds up the arch tearing and/or weakening over time resulting in the arch to drop and the foot to flatten. Other common risk factors that can contribute to flat feet are obesity, Rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
Diagnosis for flat feet is relatively simple and straight-forward. Some doctors might observe your feet while standing from the front and back. They can look at the wear and tear on the soles of your shoes. However, they may order other tests on your feet if there is a great deal of pain present. While X-rays are common to check and see the status of arthritis, they may also order an ultrasound and/or an MRI to determine if there is soft tissue damage to the tendon that holds up the arch in your foot.
As far as treatment for flat feet, if there is no pain in the arch or foot then there is no treatment necessary. However, if they are painful, your doctor might suggest come of the following:
Physical Therapy for Flat Feet
Therapy can assist in strengthening the tendon that holds the arch of your foot. They also might do a walking and running analysis to help those that are distance runners to avoid overuse injuries.
While some over the counter arch supports may help with pain and discomfort, sometimes custom orthotics are recommended to get a proper fit. While these supports will not cure flat feet, they often decrease symptoms and pain. Click here for JOI Orthotics Services.
Doctors may suggest wearing shoes that have better support during daily life and activities. Sandals and shoes without arch support may increase symptoms and cause further wear and tear.
Stretching Can Help Flat Feet Problems
Something that can be determined in physical therapy is if your flat feet coincide with a shortened Achilles tendon. If this is the case, stretches will help lengthen the tendon and reduce the pain felt at the heel. a calf stretch can help to keep the Achilles tendon more mobile and flexible. Perform this exercise for 30 seconds, 3 x.
If Flat Feet are a Problem
If you experience minor pain, at-home remedies like over the counter pain relievers, reducing high impact activities, and weight loss can all decrease symptoms and stress on your feet. If these simple at-home remedies do not decrease symptoms from your flat feet, it is best to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss further treatment. Here at JOI, we have multiple doctors as well as foot and ankle specialists that would be glad to help you with your issue! If you need to see a JOI Foot and Ankle Physician, Call JOI-2000 for an Appointment or click below: