The arches of your feet have an important role to play for your entire body. They act like springs or shock absorbers, flexing to dampen and dissipate the force of each step. Impacts are spread over a longer period of time, reducing wear and tear in the feet and legs.
But that’s not all arches do. In addition to cushioning each step, they also store that energy and release it to help propel you forward more efficiently. Healthy arches also help keep your bones and joints in good biomechanical alignment throughout the body, which prevents pain not only in the feet but in the knees, hips, and back as well.
It’s no surprise, then, that people with flat feet are often much more susceptible to pain, injury, and fatigue. If you have flat feet and any problems at all with foot pain, you should seek out our team for an evaluation. We offer advanced, effective solutions to this common problem.
For some people, flat feet cause no discernible symptoms and they can engage in full activity without problems. However, others aren’t so fortunate. Potential pitfalls may include:
- Chronic foot pain, especially in the heels and arches
- Chronic pain in other areas of the body, including the legs and back
- Swelling along the bottom of the foot or inside the ankle
- Inability or difficulty standing on tiptoes
Causes of Flat Feet
The arch is supported and preserved by a system of tendons throughout your foot and lower leg. When these tendons are out of sync and not providing the proper amount of tension on the midfoot bones, the arch can collapse. There are many potential reasons why this might be the case:
- Genetics. For a sizeable minority of people, foot arches never fully develop.
- Wear and tear. Decades of everyday life can slowly weaken and stretch supporting tendons and allow the arch to flatten over time. Associated risk factors include obesity, old age, diabetes, and pregnancy.
- Acute injuries. Broken bones, torn tendons, dislocations, and other traumas can lead to flattening of the arch.
- Other medical conditions. Certain diseases or infections can lead to flat feet, include rheumatoid arthritis and various neurological conditions.
Do You Need Treatment for Flat Feet?
A sizeable percentage of people with flatfeet experience no symptoms. If you have low or no arches, but are still able to live an active and fulfilling lifestyle without frequent pain or fatigue, there’s usually no reason to address the condition. Certainly keep an eye on it, but active treatment is probably not necessary.
If, however, you are having problems with foot or lower body pain, frequent soreness or fatigue, and find that you can’t stay active as long as you like, it’s best to book an appointment. We can help.
Flatfoot Treatment Options
Alongside traditional remedies such as stretching and physical therapy, Dr. Joel Foster in Lee’s Summit offers additional specialized treatment options for this common condition.
When it comes to flat feet, the first choice is usually conservative treatment to accommodate the deformity and provide the “missing” shock absorption and biomechanical alignment the feet aren’t providing. Orthotics are often the best way to do this.
We discourage you from going out and buying shoe inserts on your own. Instead, come to our office to make sure you’re getting something that will work. A purpose-built, fully custom orthotic will generally give you the best results, especially for a severe flatfoot. However, we also carry a line of well built, effective prefabricated orthotics that we can customize and refit in our office using heat molding. This will usually offer a much better result than what you can get on your own in the store, at around the same price.
Sometimes, your flat feet may be linked with a collapse in a small, naturally occurring gap between the ankle and heel called the sinus tarsi. When that gap collapses, the ankle bone slips out of place and joints further up the body become misaligned, leading to pain. HyProCure treatment places a small aluminum stent in this gap via a minimally invasive surgical procedure. This realigns and stabilizes the joints of the body, and may significantly improve or resolve pain associated with flat feet.
If conservative therapies prove ineffective and HyProCure is not indicated, we may consider a more extensive reconstructive surgery to repair and restore arch function. There are multiple surgical options based on the type and severity of the arch collapse. Whenever possible, we will use the least invasive procedures available in order to help reduce the risk of complication and improve recovery time.
To schedule an appointment and have the experts in Lee’s Summit take a look at your flat feet, give us a call today at (816) 246-4222. We provide quality care and personal treatment, and will take as much time as needed to ensure you get the best treatment for your condition.