If you have flat feet, they might not give you any trouble, but the potential is there. If you’re diagnosed with flat feet, the bottom of one or both feet sits fully on the ground, with no part of the sole having any upward curve.
Babies are born without arched feet, and though some children never develop arches, adults can also experience their arches falling, often as a result of aging or injury, as well as quite a few other causes.
People also develop flat feet because they live with certain health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, muscle diseases, or nervous system disorders, such as cerebral palsy. Struggling with extra weight is also a risk factor for flat feet.
Flat feet isn’t a rare condition, as about 20-30% of the population has it. Unfortunately, flat feet can put you at risk for other uncomfortable foot conditions. There are ways your podiatrist can address your flat feet, and exercises you can do to support your foot health.
The highly skilled and knowledgeable podiatry team at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers offers a diverse array of treatments for flat feet, as well as many other foot conditions.
They partner with you in your care so you won’t be slowed down by a foot condition, deformity, or injury, and you can live life to the fullest.
One of our podiatrists, Dr. Jonathan Cutler, has been treating patients and performing complex procedures for over 25 years.
As a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon, he instills confidence in his patients, offers expert guidance coupled with compassion, and is also an involved and valued member of both the medical and local communities.
Dr. Cutler's firm belief is that patients deserve access to the most advanced podiatric care, and he feels honored to provide it.
The problems flat feet pose
We noted a few flat foot difficulties already, but others include:
- Plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the thick tissue running along the bottom of your foot
- Shin splints, pain along the shinbone
- Bunions, bony protrusions at the big toe joint
- Ankle arthritis
- Hammertoes, when the middle toe joint curls and sometimes becomes inflexible
Flat feet problems can also lead to an altered gait (the way you walk) and to pain in many places in the body, from your back and hips to your knees and ankles.
What can be done to treat flat feet?
You and your South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers podiatrist have a role to play in addressing flat feet.
You podiatrist can recommend a variety of treatments, including:
- Custom made orthotics that fit into your shoes and are molded from models of your feet
- Special shoes that offer support for your arches
- Physical therapy
- In some cases, a surgical solution
Ankle strengthening exercises you can do at home can also help, offering muscular support that makes up for what’s missing when you have flat feet.
Here are some excellent exercises to help those who have flat feet:
1. Heel raises
Heel raises are easy, and you can do them anywhere. Simply raise your heels from the floor slowly until you’re standing on the balls of your feet, and stay in that position for several seconds. Then slowly lower your heels again.
2. Arch lifts
This might be challenging at first, but you want to keep your feet flat on the floor, but try just to raise your arch as much as possible by rolling the weight of your foot outward, but keeping your heels and toes planted on the ground.
This one is flexible in that you can do the exercise while standing or sitting. This exercise works the muscles that are deep within your feet.
3. Marble pickups
This one can be fun. Place 12-24 marbles on the floor next to a bowl. Sit in a chair and use your feet to pick up each marble and place them in the bowl.
4. Heel and toe walking
With this exercise, you walk across the room only on your heels, so your toes are sticking up. Then try doing the reverse, basically walking on your tiptoes. Moving like this strengthens both foot and ankle muscles.
Seeking treatment for flat feet can relieve pain and improve your mobility, but it can also be an important preventive step, allowing you to avoid a multitude of other painful foot conditions.
To schedule an appointment, call the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers office nearest you today. We’re in Royal Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, and Belle Glade, Florida.
We offer early morning and evening hours, and we’re open on Saturdays as well. In fact, we have a doctor on-call 24/7, so if you experience an emergency, we’re here. You can also request an appointment online.