You don’t want to be caught flat-footed. That seems especially true if you’re a private investigator, although they’re also called “flatfoots.” Huh.
But in terms of having actual flat feet, the consequences aren’t getting jumped by goons. Instead, you can develop consistent pain in your feet, which can sometimes extend to your ankles, legs, or knees if the condition influences the way you walk.
Fortunately, pain and other symptoms of flat feet are often easy to address with conservative treatments.
What are Flat Feet?
An arch runs along the underside of each foot, providing structure and proper weight distribution in our everyday motion. Having flat feet means this arch is very low or flattened.
A good indication of flatfoot is investigating your footprint. A footprint of someone with a standard arch will have a curved “notch” along the inside of the print, where the sole is not making contact with the surface. Someone with flat feet will have little to no such curve, as much more of their sole is touching the ground.
Having flat feet does not always mean you will have pain or other problems associated with it. If you do, however, it often comes from weight being improperly distributed over your foot, and/or the condition affecting the way your feet move as you walk (e.g. overpronation).
What Causes Flat Feet?
Most of us are not born with arches, but they will later develop as we grow. This is called pediatric or flexible flatfoot and is usually not much cause for concern.
In some cases, though, arches never come in. When the feet have finished fully growing, the lack of arches is “set” and the condition is referred to as rigid flatfoot.
Arches can also begin to drop as we further age. The tendon that runs along the inside of the ankle can weaken over time, causing the arch to gradually fall. Other conditions such as excess weight, prior injuries to the foot, and diabetes can also affect the strength of the arch.
How to Treat Flat Feet
If flat feet are not causing any pain or symptoms, then it likely will not need any form of treatment.
This is often especially true in children who are still growing, whose arches will gradually appear as they develop. However, it is still very important to regularly monitor the development of your child’s arches to ensure this is happening. If it is not, addressing the condition earlier in life can help avoid pain later on.
In cases where foot pain is present, steps can be taken to provide countering comfort and control. Custom-made orthotics can be prescribed to provide the necessary support exactly where it is needed. Physical therapy in the form of stretches and strengthening exercises can also have a positive effect on pain relief and support.
Surgery is not performed to correct flat feet. However, in rare cases, surgery might be considered for a problem connected to flat feet, such as a torn or ruptured tendon.
If flat feet are causing you pain, don’t wait any longer. Sunshein Podiatry Associates has the expert advice and conservative treatments that can help you find the comfort you need. Call our Centerville office at (937) 435-7477 to schedule an appointment, or connect with us online via our online contact form.