Is Having Flat Feet A Problem

By Amelia Son, PTA

Is Having 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.

Why are Flat Feet a Problem? Flat feet occur when your arches are flattened and the sole of your feet touch the ground

Why are Flat Feet a Problem?

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.

Flat Feet Diagnosis

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 some 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.

Flat feet can be a problem and physical therapy can assist in strengthening the tendon that holds the arch of your foot

Physical Therapy for Flat Feet

Arch Supports/Orthotics

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.

Custom Orthotic inserts can help support flat feet promblems

JOI Custom Orthotic Inserts for Flat Feet

Supportive Shoes

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.

Flat feet can be a problem and wearing supportive shoes helps with symptoms of flat feet

Supportive shoes help flat feet

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.

Flat feet can be a problem and cause plantar fasciitis. Calf muscle stretch can help lengthen the Achilles tendon.

Calf Stretching can help symptoms of flat feet

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 would like to learn more about Plantar Fasciitis Watch this video.

Related Article: Plantar Fasciitis  and Direct Access to Physical Therapy. 

To schedule an appointment for physical therapy, please call JOI Rehab at 904-858-7045.

If you need to see a JOI Foot and Ankle Physician, Call 904-JOI-2000 for an Appointment or click below:

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician

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