If you have flat feet, that means the arches in your feet fall enough to touch or almost touch the ground. Some people are born with fallen arches, but you can also develop them slowly over time.
While it’s easy to ignore a problem like flat feet, the condition can put a significant strain on your body, especially the joints in your hips, knees, and lower back. At Wiregrass Podiatry, with offices in Enterprise and Dothan, Alabama, podiatrists Jennifer Decker, DPM, and Lincoln V. Lowe, DPM, provide personalized care for men and women to manage flat feet pain and all common foot conditions.
Understanding flat feet
When you have flat feet, you have low or no arches in your feet, so the full soles of your feet touch the ground. Your arches have several vital functions. Not only do they work to distribute your body weight evenly across your feet and legs, but they even help determine how you walk. They’re also incredibly sturdy and flexible, so they can adapt to different surfaces and stressors.
If you have flat feet, your feet can roll inward while you stand or walk, and in some cases, your toes can also point out. This is known as overpronation. These changes can affect your weight distribution, which can put added stress on your muscles, ligaments, and joints. The condition can also make it difficult for your feet to properly absorb shock, which can affect your ankles, hips, and knees.
Even if you don’t have any symptoms of flat feet right now, taking preventive action can help reduce your risk of having problems in the future.
The problem with flat feet
The first sign of flat feet is usually pain in the middle region of your feet. In most cases, this discomfort increases with activity and can also come with swelling in your ankles or arches.
In addition to pain, flat feet can also increase your risk of:
- Shin splints
- Achilles tendinitis
- Ankle instability
- Foot or ankle pain
- Pain in your back, hips, or knees
And, because of the stress on your hips, knees, and lower back joints, even the simplest movements can become difficult as arthritis begins limiting the range of motion in your feet.
To help diagnose and treat flat feet, the Wiregrass team offer in-house digital imaging, such as X-rays and ultrasound. This allows him to provide an immediate diagnosis of flat feet and suggest the best forms of treatment to correct your condition.
Treating flat feet
In most cases, flat feet pain can be managed through conservative treatment. Care plans often include physical therapy, special footwear, or orthotic inserts. The Wiregrass team also provides stretching and strengthening exercises customized to your individual needs. Depending on your symptoms, he could even suggest nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to control pain and inflammation.
If you have severely flat feet that haven’t responded to conservative treatments, your Wiregrass podiatrist might recommend minimally invasive, flat feet surgery. This therapy allows for the repair tendons, fuse joints, or graft tissue, as well as perform other repairs to correct your arches.
Call today or book online to have your flat feet evaluated and get management and treatment.