The arch is the main supportive structure of your foot. It is made of bones, tendons and ligaments. If this arch loses strength, the bony framework begins to collapse, causing your foot to flatten. This applies strain and pressure to the bones and joints at both ends of your foot.
There are many causes of flatfeet. Some people are born with them, others acquire flatfeet as a result of arthritis, trauma, or musculoskeletal disorders. Genetics may also play a role in the development of a flatfoot.
Discomfort from flatfeet may appear years later. At some point, pain may be felt, and walking may become awkward as increasing strain is put on your feet, ankle and legs.
The excess strain from flatfeet can cause other foot problems such as hammertoes, bunions, heel spurs, arch strain, corns, neuromas, and sagging joints. Flatfeet can also affect other parts of the body, causing fatigue, pain, or stiffness in the ankles, knees, hips, or lower back.
To determine the best treatment for flatfeet, your podiatrist will look at your medical history to determine if you have had any previous medical problems. The physician will ask about the length and frequency of your symptoms, the type of activities you do, and any pain or problems you have in other parts of your body. Your physician will perform a complete examination of your foot, including an analysis of the way you walk to observe the movement and stability of your legs and feet. X-rays may be taken to evaluate the bones of your feet and see if there is arthritis.
Flat Feet If flatfeet are diagnosed at an early age, there is a good chance that nonsurgical treatment such as strapping, custom shoe inserts, or bracing can help the problem.
If your flatfeet cause chronic pain, surgery may be needed to correct the alignment of the bones, or to support or reinforce the tendon structures in your feet.