Flat Feet: When a Natural Curve Turns Flat
Have you ever walked down a wet beach and observed a set of footprints? It’s a natural thought to try and figure out what the person looks like based on their footprint. The kind of footprint you leave behind in the sand does tell something—it gives clues about your foot structure. If your footprint looks more like a blob or flat pancake than the traditional curved foot with 5 perfect toes, it is likely that you have flat feet.
The term flat feet means that the arches in your foot are abnormally low or non-existent. This is often an inherited foot structure although feet can flatten out as we age. With very flat feet, when you stand on the floor barefooted, the entire sole of your foot will touch the ground. Most of us pay no attention to how our feet function each time we move, just as we don’t usually think about how we walk. The truth is that the arch plays a vital role in supporting your foot and distributing the weight of your body evenly across the foot. When an arch has fallen, the foot cannot function as it normally does, and this can lead to stress on other parts of your foot and other parts in your body as well, such as your knees and hips. Babies and young children’s feet are naturally flat-footed, as the curve of the arch forms during development. But in some cases, the arch just doesn’t form.
Many people with flat feet have no symptoms at all, while others may experience chronic foot pain due to the weak foot structure. If your feet are flat, you may experience discomfort especially when you are very active or spend long periods of time standing and walking. The demand of sports or long hours on your feet at a job can strain your flat feet and cause pain.
Sometimes this condition is referred to as “fallen arches.” This is typically when you have developed this foot structure over time—when your arches have fallen as you have aged. This is called adult acquired flatfoot. Damage to the posterior tibial tendon, arthritis, injury and Charcot foot are common conditions that can lead to adult acquired flatfoot.
“Over-pronation” is a very common problem that results when your feet roll inward more than the normal amount when standing, walking or running. This can easily place undue stress on the joints of your foot or other joints, causing pain. When there is a difference in leg length, curvature of the spine or just a weaker foot, then one foot will often pronate or roll inwards more than the other… causing foot, ankle, knee, hip or back pain to occur.
Building a strong Bridge
If your feet feel healthy and you have no pain, there is no need to seek treatment for flat feet. Keep wearing supportive cushioned shoes, but make sure to contact us if any discomfort starts. For those who have pain or chronically tired and achy feet, then custom foot orthotics are necessary to support, stabilize and balanced your feet. Prescription foot orthotics can make a world of difference for those with flat or over-pronated feet.
Dr. Thomas Silver at Westwood Foot Clinic is the leading specialist in the treatment of flat and over-pronated feet in Minnesota. Call (763) 231-2341 or request an appointment online. Same day or next day appointments are often available. You can also contact Dr. Silver directly with any questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org