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Can I Live Without a Foot Arch?

Having flat feet is very common and it is one of the reasons why people would need corrective foot repair. In fact, it is estimated that at least 25% of Americans live with flat feet

Flat feet is not a disease but rather, a deformity. However, while some people who have flat feet do not report any problems related to the condition, there are others who may experience poor balance, discomfort, and pain. 

If you think you or a loved one have flat feet, you might be wondering what you can do to keep the condition from affecting your physical health. You’re in luck as in this post, your trusted Florida Foot & Ankle experts will shed light on flat feet to help you better understand its implications and your treatment options.

What is Flat Feet?

Flat feet is a condition also referred to as collapsed or fallen arches and its medical term is pes planus. When a person has flat feet, they have no visible arch in either or both feet. As such, the entire soles of their feet touch the ground when they stand up.

Flat feet or collapsed arches occur when the posterior tibial tendon, the tendon inside the ankle that keeps the foot in the right position, is worn out or injured. As such, it cannot provide the support needed to maintain the foot arch.

Source: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/posterior-tibial-tendon-dysfunction/ 

How Does Flat Feet Develop?

All humans are born with flat feet. Feet arches form during childhood as part of our physical development. However, these arches may not develop in some individuals, causing them to have flat feet. Moreover, a person’s arches may also collapse later in life due to an injury or the typical wear and tear as they age.

How to Tell If You Have Flat Feet

Many people with flat feet may not realize they have it until they experience symptoms that will eventually encourage them to consult a specialist for a diagnosis. Although one can live with flat feet without experiencing symptoms, there are certain types of flat foot that can cause the following:

  • Pain in the foot arch, heel, ankle, or outside parts of the foot or leg
  • Leg pain or cramps
  • Pain while walking
  • Changes in the way you walk
  • Toe drifting (toes pointing outward)

How is Flat Feet Diagnosed

When you visit a doctor at Florida Foot & Ankle Associates, she or he will check for the following signs that you may have flat feet:

  • The inner foot or arch flattens when you are standing up
  • When the arch flattens, your entire sole touch the floow
  • The foot rolls over to the inner side (this is known as over-pronation)

Furthermore, if your flat feet causes discomfort or pain, the doctor will require one or a combination of the following imaging tests to provide correct diagnosis and plan a treatment strategy:

  • X-ray. This simple imaging method produces images of the bones and joints in the feet.
  • CT scan. This provides more detailed images of the feet’s bones and joints in different angles.
  • Ultrasound. This will be used to determine if any of the soft tissues in the feet or legs are injured.
  • MRI. This may be required if the doctor wants to check both hard and soft tissues for injuries.

Who is at Risk for Having Flat Feet?

Aside from your arches not developing properly and completely during childhood, there are also other ways you can have flat feet during adulthood. Below are the factors that increase one’s risk for becoming flat-footed.

  • Aging
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Foot and/or ankle injury
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetes

Why Should You Take Flat Feet Seriously?

As mentioned above, flat feet rarely cause problems. However, it can still sometimes contribute to problems with your feet, ankles, and knees. It can even cause misalignment or your legs. For some people, their flat feet limit their ability to comfortably stand, walk, and perform other day-to-day activities. This is why flat feet’s impact on quality of life is being studied. 

If you suspect that you have flat feet and you are experiencing discomfort, pain, and difficulty when standing, walking, or running, it’s best that you consult a certified podiatrist near you.

Flat Feet Treatment: How to Rebuild Arches in Flat Feet

Flat feet treatment and management are often needed to relieve pain and discomfort associated with it. These treatment measures and methods include:

  • Pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). These are prescribed to ease pain and discomfort.
  • Cold compress and rest. These are recommended to let your stressed or injured tendons, joints, and bones rest and recover.
  • Physical therapy. These will also help the feet recover as well as improve mobility and flexibility.
  • Support device. Depending on the severity of your flat-footedness and symptoms, you will be given foot orthotics, braces, and/or custom-made shoes. These are designed to push the arch up and keep tendons, joints, and bones in place.

In rare cases, patients with rigid flat feet and other diagnosed problems with their bones and/or tendons will need surgery. Only board certified podiatrists can recommend and perform flat foot surgery, which is also referred to as flat foot reconstruction. Consult one of our podiatrists if you experience symptoms that you think might be related to flat feet.

Are Your Flat Feet Causing You Discomfort? Visit Our  Foot & Ankle Clinic for a Consultation!

You don’t have to live in pain. Our team of experienced doctors is here to provide you with professional diagnosis and treatment. Our caring and compassionate staff will be there to support you every step of the way. From routine foot care to more specialized treatment, our foot specialists in Miami, Hialeah, Hollywood, and other South Florida locations are trained in new methods and advanced equipment in podiatry.

Our medical facility and doctors specialize in the following:

Also, feel free to visit us in any of our convenient locations:

  • Miami Dade County (including Miami, Miami Beach, Kendall, Hialeah, Coral Gables) 
  • Broward County (Hollywood, Pembroke Pines)
  • Palm Beach County (Boca Raton)

We operate at most major hospitals in the region, accept just about every insurance plan, and offer a range of payment options. Our quality care comes with a promise: accessibility and affordability!

If you have any questions, contact us or call us at 786-662-3893.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

8200 NW 27th St
Suite 108
Doral, FL 33122
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