Have you ever heard of the term “fallen arches” in regards to the feet? This is a term often used to describe someone with flat feet. Someone who has flat feet usually has little or no arch to their feet at all. This is a gap that is generally located under the inner portion of a foot whenever the person is in the standing position.
Does it Need Treatment?
Usually, flat feet will only require treatment if there is some sort of discomfort as a result. There may also be an underlying disorder that should be addressed. However, some people that have a very low arch or no arch at all might go on without any pain throughout their lifetime.
When it comes to flat feet or fallen arches, the most common complaint will be aching or pain. This may result from strained muscles as well as various connecting ligaments. Any abnormal stress on the hip and knee can also result in pain around the same area – which is likely if the ankle turns inward.
There could be discomfort in one or more of the following areas of the body with fallen arches:
- Inside the ankle
- Arch of the foot
- Lower back
- Lower legs
- Stiffness in one or both of the feet
Some patients may also have an uneven distribution of their body weight due to flat feet. This could lead to shoes wearing unevenly or quicker than normal, especially on one side. Without proper caution, this may also lead to further injury.
Know the Cause
There can be a variety of causes for flat feet, including:
- Genetics – flat feet is a condition that can pass through the genes from the parent to the child
- Weakened arches – this is when the arch remains visible as the person is sitting, but the foot will flatten to the ground when they stand
- Injury to the ankle or foot
- Damage to the posterior tibial tendon
- Muscle or nervous system diseases like muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, or cerebral palsy
Tarsal coalition is another condition that can bring on flat feet. It causes the foot’s bones to start to fuse together in an unusual manner, which results in flat, stiff feet. This is a condition that is generally diagnosed by pediatricians when children are young.
Flat feet is also a condition that can start to develop. With a lot of daily use without the right support, the posterior tibial tendon can begin to weaken and cause issues with the arch of the foot. If the tendon becomes inflamed, known as tendonitis, the foot can flatten and lead to discomfort.
See Your Podiatrist for a Diagnosis
Generally, someone with flat feet will not need to speak with a health professional. However, you should see your podiatrist should you experience any of the following:
- Pain in your feet, lower limbs, or ankles
- Flat feet that developed very recently
- Symptoms that are not improving with properly fitted and supportive footwear
- One or both of your feet flatten even more
- Feeling stiffness, weight, or rigidity in the feet
Your podiatrist will examine your feet and assess how you stand on them and your gait while walking. There could also be another series of tests to determine the best course of action if you are dealing with pain and discomfort in your feet from fallen arches. Some of the treatment options may include fitted orthotics or insoles, arch supports, wide-fitting shoes, or even an ankle brace.