If both of your feet are quite literally planted to the ground, this is a condition known as flatfoot in which your arches may not have developed, or they collapse later in life. Thankfully, many cases of flatfoot are painless and don’t have any measurable impact on your mobility. For those with symptomatic flat feet, however, the problem can cause discomfort and require treatment.
At Great Lakes Foot and Ankle Institute, our team of podiatric specialists understands the impact that flat feet can have on your life, and more importantly, what we can do about it. If you’d like to explore your options for fixing your flat feet, read on.
Flat on the ground
As the name suggests, flat feet is a condition in which the bottom of your entire foot rests on the ground because of a lack of arch support. The arches of your feet typically develop when you’re a child gaining mobility. These arches are designed to provide shock absorption and support for your body as your feet carry you through the world.
In some cases, your arches may not develop in childhood, leaving you with flat feet throughout your life. In other cases, fallen arches can arise because of:
- Age — flat feet typically develop after 40
- Problems with your posterior tibial tendon, which holds your arches up
- Injury or trauma to your foot
- Faulty foot structures
As we mentioned, many people with flat feet lead perfectly normal lives, but for those who are affected by the condition, they may experience:
- Pain in your midfoot
- Pain in the joints in your lower extremities (ankles, knees, and hips)
Because your feet lie flat on the ground, it encourages pronation, a condition in which your ankles roll inward. This can have a cascading effect throughout your lower extremities as they compensate for the imbalance.
Giving your feet a lift
If you’re experiencing pain in your feet and you notice that your foot lies flat on the ground, you should come see us so that we can assess the degree of the problem. Using advanced imaging as well as biomechanics testing, we can evaluate the impact the condition is having on your feet as well as other parts of your body.
Typically, we prefer to start out conservatively with custom orthotics as well as targeted exercises that are designed to strengthen your feet. With custom orthotics designed for your flat feet, we can provide your feet with extrinsic arch support. We can start out slowly to get your feet used to their new shape, adding more support as we go.
You can do your part at home by following our physical therapy program, which can go a long way toward mitigating the effect that flat feet have on your life. As well, if you’re carrying extra weight, we do recommend weight loss as an effective way to take the pressure off your arches.
And when pain develops, we recommend that you take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce swelling and relieve the pain.
If your flat feet are severely affecting your mobility, we do offer surgical techniques for remedying the problem. This approach is rare, but if it’s the best solution for your flat feet, the team at Great Lakes Foot and Ankle Institute has the surgical experience necessary to get the job done right.
To learn more about your treatment options for flat feet, please contact one of our offices in Chesterfield, Clinton Township, Fort Gratiot, East China Township, Shelby Township, or Rochester, Michigan.