There’s Bigfoot, and then there’s flatfoot. Today we’ll be talking about the latter–which tends to be much more real. The truth is, it’s quite rare to find someone who walks with both feet in perfect alignment. One of the results of this misalignment is flatfoot, or fallen arches. In some cases, we may not even be aware of the condition, as it can present as a painless problem. Sometimes though, it can cause aching that is easy to notice.
We often unintentionally walk on the inside or outsides of our feet, or with our toes and heels rotated inwards. While these walking patterns can seem normal to us, it’s actually causing damage to not only the feet, but also the whole body. This is because the alignment of the feet sets the foundation for the whole body’s alignment.
What are the symptoms of flatfoot?
Flatfoot is characterized by a lack of appropriate arch in the inner foot. Basically, your arches are flattened. In some cases, the fallen arches can be pretty severe, causing the entire soles of your feet to make contact with the ground. A healthy foot is structurally able to support the weight of the body–thanks to the bone structure that comprises the arch. However, in individuals with flatfoot, the foot is unable to properly support your weight, causing extreme pressure in the joints above, such as ankles, knees, and hips. This pressure can cause pain in the arch and heel areas. You may even experience pain throughout the lower body and into the lower back, since the fallen arches impact the alignment of the rest of the body. In some instances, swelling might occur.
Why do I have flatfoot?
One reason could be genetics (if your arches didn’t develop as they were supposed to during early childhood). Other causes include injury to the foot, arthritis, prolonged untreated misalignment, or the wear-and-tear associated with age. No matter the cause, flatfoot can be treated with a variety of methods.
Treatment options for flatfoot range from a trip to your podiatrist, to self-care tips.
- Orthotics. One of our specialties, orthotics are customized foot devices that are molded to your specific needs. To have one created, you can come into our office and we will perform 3D scanning and digital X-rays of your feet. This allows us to acquire your exact measurements and also helps us figure out if there are any other underlying problems. Afterwards, we cast your foot to obtain an individualized mold. The result? A custom orthotic to help support your arches.
- Wear the right shoes. Shoes that structurally support your foot will be more comfortable comfortable. When buying shoes, avoid ones that have no support and opt for a little cushion. The flatter the shoe, the worse it will make flatfoot.
- Physical therapy and stretching. Sometimes simple stretching can alleviate some of the tension on your feet. A physical therapist might be able to perform a few techniques that can help release pressure and minimize pain. They can also tell you the right ways to walk or run.
- Surgery. While surgery is generally last resort, depending on the severity of your flatfoot, it might be a plausible option for long-term relief.
Call or visit Dynamic Foot and Ankle Center today and we will help you get started on the road to recovery. We will discuss all treatment options and find out which one works best for you!