Have you ever stopped to think about just how awesome your feet really are? The sheer biomechanics that go into each step you take are frankly mind-blowing. For instance, one of the foot’s unsung heroes, the arch, works hard to evenly distribute our body weight as we walk, dance, and move. If you have flat feet or fallen arches, however, your biomechanics aren’t as optimized as they can be. In fact, you may be regularly experiencing some painful symptoms without knowing why! Read more about flat feet and what you can do to get your feet in great shape:
What Are Flat Feet?
Also known as fallen arches, flat feet is a condition in which the arches in your feet are either very low or even nonexistent. You may find that both of your feet lie flat on the ground when you’re standing or may notice your feet rolling inward when you walk. This condition, which affects around 30% of the population, often causes shoes to wear out unevenly or more quickly than usual.
What Causes Flat Feet?
Flat feet can occur one of two ways: either you’re born with them or they develop over time. People are often unaware that they have flat feet, especially if they aren’t experiencing any painful symptoms. If genes aren’t to be blamed for your flat feet, they may develop due to obesity, a specific podiatric injury, overuse from physical activities, or simply accumulated wear and tear.
How Can I Tell if I Have Flat Feet?
Do the arches of your feet touch the floor whenever you stand? If so, you have flat feet. If you can’t tell, try this nifty trick:
Fill a shallow pan with enough water to fully cover the bottom. Step in the pan with a bare foot, then step onto a flat surface that will clearly show your footprint (construction paper will work!). Step off and examine the evidence. If you see all or more than half of your foot in the print, then it’s safe to say you have flat feet!
Just remember, nothing can ever take the place of a thorough evaluation from a podiatrist!
What Are the Symptoms of Flat Feet?
The ligaments and muscles in those with flat feet are often strained, which is why our patients often report feeling pain in their heels and arches. This pain may also worsen whenever you stand or move for extended periods of time. You may also experience swelling around the inside of your ankles or may have trouble standing on your tiptoes.
Do I Need to Be Concerned?
If you have flat feet, don’t be alarmed. It’s fairly common and typically doesn’t require any treatment. Just be aware that this condition can make it difficult for you to walk or run because it places increased stress on the ankles, and it can also lead to ankle and knee problems later in life. If you think you have flat feet or have been experiencing chronic foot pain that interrupts your life, you should consider visiting your podiatrist.
How Are Flat Feet Treated?
Let’s say you want or need treatment for your fallen arches. Fortunately, there are several conservative methods your podiatrist may suggest to help relieve your symptoms! Here are some of the most popular treatments for flat feet:
- Using arch supports or orthotics
- Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes with a low heel
- Exercising and stretching the feet and Achilles tendons often
- Undergoing physical therapy, which is an especially common treatment for athletes with flat feet
Should I See a Podiatrist for Flat Feet? It’s always a smart idea to visit your podiatrist if you have flat feet, especially if you’re experiencing pain that gets in the way of your daily activities. The knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center can give you a proper diagnosis and draw up a tailored treatment plan to help alleviate any symptoms you may be feeling. Call us today at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment or request an appointment online!