Flat feet or fallen arches is a rather common and usually painless condition. It may occur when the arches don’t develop during childhood. Flat feet may also result from an injury or from the simple wear-and-tear stresses of age.
The human arch develops in childhood as part of normal muscle, tendon, ligament and bone growth so the appearance of flat feet is normal in babies. Babies usually have “fat feet” and not so much “flat feet.”
If patients are not experiencing pain, treatment is usually not necessary. However, sometimes flat feet can cause difficulties in your ankles and knees because the condition can cause your ankles to turn inward and this can throw off the alignment of your legs. So any foot pain, ankle pain or lower leg pain, especially in children, should be evaluated immediately by a podiatrist.
Painful progressive flat foot, sometimes on only one side, otherwise known as Tibialis Posterior Tendinitis, is caused by inflammation or weakening of the tendon of the tibialis posterior. The tendon becomes inflamed, stretched or suffers a partial or total tear. If not treated, this condition may lead to severe problems and chronic pain. Some people are predisposed to this condition if they have flat feet or an abnormal attachment of the tendon to the bones in the midfoot.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, ice, physical therapy, supportive taping and bracing, or orthotic devices are common ways of treating painful progressive flatfoot. These methods do not cure flat feet, but certainly can help control the symptoms associated with it. Surgical reconstruction is sometimes necessary if these other methods don’t work.
Additionally, if a patient is overweight, losing weight is a good idea to help reduce the stress on the arch. Also, stretching exercises may be helpful since some people with flat feet may have a shortened Achilles tendon.
If you are suffering from symptoms associated with flat feet or are looking for a podiatrist in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Lasday right away for a thorough and professional evaluation, either in his Bradenton Podiatry office or Sarasota Podiatry office.