Flat feet are also referred to as “fallen arches.” As the name suggests, people who have this condition do not have arches on the inside of their feet. Instead, their entire sole lies flat when touching the floor. The condition is normal in toddlers because their arches still need to develop, and they typically do during childhood. Those who do not have arches often get this condition as a result of an injury or wear-and-tear of the tendons in the feet.
Diagnosing Flat Feet
It is common for people to have different sized arches. If you think you have flat feet, you have to see a doctor to confirm your condition. When visiting a doctor, it would be best to wear a pair of shoes you frequently wear. Your podiatrist may ask to observe the stresses on your shoes.
In some cases, you may undergo imaging tests such as x-rays, CT scans, ultrasound, or MRI to determine the source and location of the pain.
What Are the Treatments for Flat Feet?
In the absence of pain, there is nothing to worry about having flat feet. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that having flat feet can contribute to problems in the ankles and knees because of alignment issues. Some people may experience pain during activities or swelling in the ankles. If you feel discomfort, your doctor may recommend some of these treatments:
Orthotic Devices or Arch Supports
Arch supports to improve your comfort and add support to your footwear. Orthotic devices can help correct gait or structural abnormalities and prevent additional problems from developing. These devices can help with conditions that may affect your spine and limbs. If you have flat feet, orthotic devices should be custom-made to give you adequate support.
Most footwear available in the market is made for the general public. These pairs do not have the extra support you need in case you have flat feet. To lessen further complications brought by having flat arches, you have to look for supportive shoes designed to give extra comfort.
Stretching exercises for your flat feet help strengthen your foot muscles. If your foot muscles are strong, your feet will be able to carry your weight easily. Consult with your podiatrist if you want to try the following simple foot exercises at home:
- Short Foot. This exercise targets the small muscles supporting the arch of your foot. While sitting down, slide your foot back towards the heel without lifting it. Hold the position for a few seconds.
- Calf Stretch. The calf is the muscle behind your lower leg. Performing lunges would balance the stress on your calf.
- Heel Raises. This exercise will strengthen your lower leg and foot muscles. Stand on your toes and hold the position for a few seconds.
- Toe Yoga. This exercise will increase toe control, which helps you in stabilization. Lift your big toe while the rest of your toes are down. Then, bring the four toes up while your big toe descends.
If you experience extreme pain in your feet, you may take over-the-counter painkillers. However, if symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor.
Surgery is not necessary for many people with flat feet. You can avoid surgery through nonsurgical treatments for flat feet. However, your podiatrist may recommend surgery if those methods don’t work or to address associated problems, such as a tendon rupture.
Some conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, can increase your risk of feeling pain when you are flatfooted. Remember to exercise regularly and eat healthily. Likewise, choose your footwear wisely. Always consider the activities you will do when picking shoes, and don’t buy a pair that will cause further pain.
Flat Feet Treatment in South Texas
If you are experiencing severe pain in your feet, it is best to seek an expert’s opinion. At The Podiatry Group of South Texas, we are equipped with advanced technology and a skilled team of experts to give you a sound diagnosis. We are dedicated to providing you with the best treatment to address your foot issues.
If you have any questions or inquiries, you may reach us by calling any of our clinics near you. We also have an online appointment request form for your convenience. We look forward to helping you walk pain-free!