When you look at a baby’s cute feet, you may notice that they don’t have arches, especially before they learn to walk. Sometimes it takes years for them to develop arches, while some toddlers’ arches are visible when they stand on their tiptoes.
About 10-20% of children never develop arches, however, and end up with flat feet.
If you’re living with flat feet as an adult, you might have no discomfort at all, or the condition may cause pain and other foot and mechanical problems.
The podiatry team at all of our South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers offices is ready with expert treatment for those who live with the condition, as well as for other foot issues associated with flat feet.
The lowdown on flat feet
You might never develop arches in your feet, or your arches can fall over the course of years due to factors like:
- Significant weight gain
- Tarsal coalition (when bones at the back of your foot fuse together)
- Simply getting older
- Living with diabetes, arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis
- Foot and ankle injuries
- Overall arch weakness
- Muscle or nervous system diseases such as cerebral palsy
Unfortunately, what results is weakening of the tendons that extend along the inside of your ankle and help hold your arch in place.
Many people never suffer any discomfort as a result of flat feet. For those who do, however, it can become debilitating and lead to other uncomfortable and unsightly foot conditions.
Why flat feet are problematic
A common side effect of flat feet is pain, but not just in your feet. Flat feet can cause:
- Back pain
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
- Ankle pain
- Calf pain
Other telltale signs of flat feet are when the soles of your shoes — particularly the heels — wear out more quickly than is typical for individuals who don’t have flat feet. This happens because having flat feet can alter the impact of your weight on your body when you walk.
In addition to this generalized pain in many areas of your body, having flat feet also frequently leads to other painful foot problems, including tendonitis and swelling of the ligaments in your soles.
Additional common — but also uncomfortable — conditions are bunions, a deformity of the big toe joint that causes painful, bony protrusions beside your big toe; hammertoe, another deformity that affects the middle joints of your toes; and shin splints, a painful condition caused by too much stress in your lower leg muscles. Flat feet can even cause ankle arthritis.
When something like overpronation (another term for flat feet) occurs, your overall equilibrium is compromised, and a cascade of problems can develop.
Can you treat my flat feet problem?
Fortunately, the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers team has a range of treatments that address flat feet, including noninvasive options like custom orthotics, prescribing highly supportive shoes, exercises to stretch your Achilles tendon, and physical therapy.
If surgery is needed, we offer reconstructive surgery for flat feet. We have several options for the procedure, depending on the details of your condition. Your surgeon may relocate a tendon or bone, or fuse certain joints to address the deformity.
Whether or not your flat feet are a nuisance now, it’s best to schedule an appointment with us. Call the office most convenient to you or use our convenient online booking tool.