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What are Flat Feet and How to Treat Them?

Flat feet are a very common issue that impacts millions of people annually. The condition is not life-threatening, but flat foot pain is not pleasant. Flat feet is a condition caused by the arch in your foot.

When a person with flat feet stands, the entire soles of their feet will touch the ground.

Some people with this condition won’t have any pain at all, but others will suffer from pain and discomfort.

What Causes Flat Feet?

Flat feet are caused from injury if a person isn’t born with the condition. Some people have flat feet their entire lives, and this means they’ll often have to wear insoles for flat feet from a very young age.

Age, or the wear and tear on the foot’s arch, can also cause a person to develop flat feet.

The issue with flat feet is that the body is designed to have a proper foot arch. When the arch isn’t proper, this leads to the alignment of the person’s legs being out of place. Common issues due to this misalignment are ankle and knee pain.

But if a person isn’t experiencing pain, there is really no reason to go to the doctor.

If you’re worried about a toddler or infant having flat feet, there’s no cause for concern. The main issue is that the foot’s arch simply hasn’t developed yet, but it will develop and continue to develop through childhood in most cases.

Arches can fall over time due to the weakening of the tendons inside of the ankle. The job of these tendons is to help support the foot’s arch, and when they weaken, the arch will slowly start to fall.

Flat feet can be something you’re born with, or it can be caused by one of these risk factors:

  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Genetics
  • Muscular disease
  • Nervous system disease or issues

Symptoms of Flat Feet

Again, you may have no symptoms of flat feet at all, and this means no pain or discomfort. Pain in the arch or heel of the foot are the most common symptoms. And if the problem persists for a long period of time without any form of treatment, you will start to experience pain in your knees and ankles in many cases.

Your ankles may begin to swell, too.

The inside of the ankle is especially prone to swelling. Increased activity may also cause the pain to worsen.

Doctors may be able to diagnose the condition and offer you a form of pain relief. You also have several other alternatives available that allow you to treat flat feet without needing to do to the doctor to have your foot examined.

Pain in the foot is caused by strain on the connecting ligaments and muscles.

If you pay attention to the position of your ankle, you may notice that it is beginning to turn inward. This inward turning is the most common factor in the foot drop resulting in hip and knee pain. The pain is caused by the abnormal stress put on these joints, but it’s most commonly seen when the ankle starts to turn inward.

How to Treat Flat Feet

Treating flat feet is possible, and you may be able to prevent flat feet from occurring. We’ve written a great article on how to alleviate foot pain , and we recommend reading the article if you’re trying to find relief from your pain.

And, there are other forms of treatment, too.

I recommend searching for the best insoles for flat feet because they can help provide immediate relief. You’ll also be able to correct some of your flat feet issues with insoles, which is a nice added perk.

We also have an article on picking the right shoe inserts  that you’ll want to read.

If you’ve done all of that, you’ll want to further help relieve pain and treat your fallen arches. A physical therapist can help recommend exercises that will help you better manage your symptoms.

But, you can also perform the following exercises, which are commonly recommended, to help with the pain and discomfort.

  • Heel cord stretching. Achilles tendons that are tight will cause your foot to roll inward. Proper stretching of this tendon will help you avoid some of this inward rolling that is known for causing aches and pains. Performing this stretch is easy:
    1. Face the wall, placing one hand at eye level.
    2. Place your left foot one step behind the opposing leg, making sure that the heel is flat on the ground.
    3. Bend your front knee forward until your back ankle begins to stretch.
    4. Perform this exercise 10 times, holding for 30 seconds and switching to the other foot.
  • Ball roll. A simple stretch requiring a hard ball, such as a golf ball.
    1. Sit down on a chair, keeping your feet flat on the ground.
    2. Place one foot on the ball mentioned above.
    3. Roll forward and backward, paying attention to the arch of the foot.
    4. Continue for two minutes.

The goal of both of these exercises is to stretch out the foot’s arch, tendons and ligaments. You’ll want to perform these exercises a few times daily, two times at minimum. A few good stretches may be enough to alleviate the pain, but remember that you need to be consistent or the pain will come back.

Using the tips from our article on alleviating pain will also help, and you can use these tips in conjunction with the stretches above to find even more relief.

When all else fails, and insoles, stretches and tips on relieving pain don’t help, you can talk to a foot doctor. The foot doctor may recommend insoles or orthotics, which is the most common solution, but they’ll also recommend other options, such as:

  • Custom arch supports
  • Extra-wide shoes
  • Supportive shoes
  • Wedges for the shoe
  • Ankle brace

Flat feet, when pain is present, will lead to other possible foot conditions. Using the advice above, you may be able to treat flat feet and possibly keep further issues from developing.

August 21, 2018


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