Also known as “fallen arches” or referred to medically as “pronation,” flat feet begin with an abnormal bone structure that causes the arch of the foot to collapse, and as a result, the entire sole of the foot comes into near or complete contact with the ground. Generally, flat feet are not painful in themselves, but in some cases, they can cause cramps and fatigue in the foot and leg. Left untreated they can lead to long-term pain.
Flat feet are common—as many as one in three people have a flattened arch in one or both feet—and can arise from a variety of causes including:
- An abnormality present from birth
- Torn or stretched tendons
- Dislocated or broken bones
- Nerve problems
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Damage to the posterior tibial tendon, the tendon that runs along the ankle from the lower leg to the middle of the arch.
Prevention and Treatment:
Unfortunately, in most cases, flat feet are not preventable; even if you weren’t born with flat feet, aging and heavy strain placed on the foot can weaken the foot muscles and cause arches to fall. If there is no pain or discomfort present, there is no need for medical intervention, but if treatment is needed, your podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics, stretching exercises, physical therapy and even in extreme cases surgical reconstruction of the foot.
When To Seek Care:
For many people, flat feet don’t result in pain or discomfort. But if you experience pain, especially in the heel or arch area of your foot, you need to be evaluated by a podiatrist. Click here to request your appointment.