Flat feet aren't unusual and are usually caused by a lack of tendon support in the arches of the feet. However, this condition can cause pain in various other parts of the body, including the back, hips, and knees. People with flat feet might need help from a podiatrist to deal with these issues.
South Sound Foot & Ankle in Olympia, Washington provides comprehensive foot care. Mark Hopkins, DPM is experienced in treating all kinds of podiatric issues, and he can help alleviate pain associated with fallen arches.
Flat feet versus arched feet
Flat feet, or fallen arches, is a relatively common condition that occurs when the arch on the bottom of the foot is not present. Most people have an arch that prevents their entire sole from touching the ground. However, people with flat feet don't have the proper bone structure or tendon tension in their feet to provide this arch.
Flat feet can be identified by a single footprint. People with arched feet will leave behind a partial print of their foot, while flat-footed people will leave behind an imprint of their entire foot.
Children are usually flat-footed, as the bones and tendons in their feet haven't developed yet. Some of these children never develop an arch, making them flat-footed for life. Some adults end up with flat feet after years of walking and standing, which weakens the arch structure. Obesity also increases the risk of flat-footedness over time.
The downsides of flat feet
Flat feet are mostly harmless. Most people with flat feet can walk, run, and play sports without complications. However, fallen arches can lead to problems, including pain.
People with flat feet might experience the following symptoms:
- Fatigue or pain when standing/walking/running
- Aching and swollen feet
- Pain in the back, legs, hips, and knees
A lack of arch height may require other tendons in the foot and ankle to overcompensate. For example, many people with flat feet report pain in the Achilles tendon, which resides at the back of your foot and ankle. This pain can migrate up the leg as well, affecting the comfort of your knees, hips, and back.
What are my treatment options for flat feet?
There is much that can be done to support a flat arch. If obesity is exacerbating your flat-foot-related pain, a weight loss plan can help you reduce the pressure being put on your feet.
Your podiatrist can also offer solutions that alleviate pain and align your body better. Your treatment plan might include:
- Custom shoes and inserts
- Anti-inflammatory pain medication
- Stretching exercises
- Walking boots that promote tendon healing
- Physical therapy
Are your flat feet or fallen arches causing problems in your day-to-day life? Call South Sound Foot & Ankle at 360-216-0492 or book an appointment online today to find out how we can help you live a life without pain.