Some people can go their entire lives with flat feet and never experience any discomfort. However, for others, the condition, also known as fallen arches, can cause excruciating pain even when you are wearing comfortable shoes. It can be frustrating when all of a sudden, later in life, you begin to experience problems from flat feet.
The lack of arch support can also lead to debilitating joint problems. If you are beginning to experience problems due to flat feet, the following primer on the condition can help you understand why your feet are hurting all of sudden and what can be done to alleviate the pain.
Why You Have Flat Feet
Flat feet, medically known as pes planus, is a normal condition among infants because the arch of the foot has not developed yet. Most people develop an arch over the course of childhood. If the curve on the inner side of your foot never fully develops, you may experience problems early on in your life.
In some cases, your arch may fall after you become an adult. The most common causes of a fallen arch that develops in adulthood include:
- Obesity (The reason gaining weight to the point of obesity causes flat feet is because the excess weight causes extreme strain on your feet, which in turn causes muscle damage.)
- Injuries such as dislocated bones, fractures and torn ligaments
- Serious nerve conditions
- Wearing poorly made shoes that do not have proper arch support
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Walking in high heels for extended periods
Instead of walking around in agony due to flat feet and trying to alleviate the pain by purchasing cheap insoles from the drugstore, make an appointment with a podiatrist at a clinic like Citrus Chiropractic Group. Since these types of doctors specialize in foot disorders, they can help you figure out the exact cause of your flat feet.
The type of pain you experience can be a clue as to the cause of your fallen arches. For example, some people experience pain that radiates from their heels while others may feel as if the bottom of their feet are being split apart by a knife when they walk.
In addition to getting your full medical history, a podiatrist will also administer tests such as MRIs, X-rays and ultrasounds. These tests will help them detect problems in the soft tissues and bones of your feet.
Surgical and Therapy Treatment Options
Luckily, there are several treatment options for the condition. The type of treatment your foot specialist recommends will vary based on the amount of damage to your feet and how much pain you experience from the condition.
For severe problems, such as torn ligaments, damaged muscles, and loose tendons, you may need to undergo surgery to correct pes planus problems.
Physical therapy and stretching exercises can also be helpful. Your foot specialist may put you on a physical therapy schedule to help you overcome any injuries that caused the condition. Prescribed stretching exercises that you perform on your own cause also help you heal and strengthen your feet.
Your foot specialist may also prescribe orthotics. These devices are specialized soles and supports that fit into your shoes to help relieve the pain from flat feet.
While you may see a range of insoles, inserts, and arch supports in your local drugstore that claim to help you manage flat feet, they do not compare to the orthotics that you obtain from a medical retailer that specializes in the devices.
Custom orthotics will not be too rigid or too soft like cheap, off-the-shelf insoles. They will fit your feet properly and not lead to other problems such as knee and back pain that you may experience from wearing cheap insoles.