Flat feet, also referred to as fallen arches, are more common than you might think. In fact, you could have them and not even notice, and why would you? After all, unless you are dealing with foot pain or swelling you may not pay too much attention to the overall shape or structure of your feet; however, our podiatrist, Dr. Douglas Robinson, sees it all the time: foot, leg, and even hip problems due to flat feet. If you or your child is dealing with foot problems caused by flat feet, it’s the perfect time to turn to us.
What causes flat feet?
Flat feet can run in the family (thanks mom and dad!). So, if your family has a history of flat feet then you’re more likely to inherit them. Those who are physically active as well as athletes are more at risk for foot injuries, which can lead to flat feet. Those with certain muscular disorders, metabolic conditions (e.g., diabetes), high blood pressure, or obesity are also at risk for flat feet.
Children don’t develop flat feet until about 2-3 years old, so it’s normal for babies and toddlers to have flat feet. This is not a problem and shouldn’t cause them any issues. If your child doesn’t develop arches by 3 years old and is having issues with mobility, you may want to talk with Dr. Robinson about ways to correct this problem early.
What problems can flat feet cause?
Since the arches of your feet support them, it’s not too surprising that one of the most common symptoms of flat feet is pain. Those with flat feet are also more at risk for developing other painful foot problems such as Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Flat feet can also lead to overpronation, which can impact the spinal alignment and lead to pain and other issues with your legs, knees, hips, and back.
Do I need to treat my flat feet?
Not necessarily. If you aren’t experiencing any problems then treatment won’t be required; however, if you are dealing with foot pain and other problems as a result of flat feet you must turn to our podiatrist Dr. Robinson and his team to find out what’s causing your symptoms. If your symptoms are due to flat feet some simple treatment options can help such as,
- Custom orthotics that we can create, which are placed into the shoes to help support and cushion the entire foot
- A diet and exercise program, if you need to lose weight
- Pain relievers such as ibuprofen can reduce pain and swelling
- Splinting or bracing the arches of the feet
- Physical therapy, which offers exercises to train and strengthen the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the feet and ankles
- Wearing the appropriate footwear (Dr. Robinson can discuss which types of shoes may work best for your feet)
If you are dealing with sore, overworked, and achy feet due to flat feet we would be happy to sit down with you to discuss easy ways to get your symptoms under control. Whether you want us to create custom orthotics or you want to discuss exercises you can do to retrain and strengthen the feet, we can help.