The Scoop on Flat Feet
Flat soda is just not the same as fizzy soda. It’s pretty hard to make a root beer float without a carbonated drink to add some bubbly foam. The same is true for flat feet! They’re just not the same as a regular foot structure.
The Formation of Flat Soles
Someone with flat feet has little or no arches. When they put their feet on the ground, the space on the inner part of their foot touches the ground as well. For most people, this condition won’t cause problems. However, others may experience pain and problems associated with overpronation.
What Causes This Condition to Bubble Up?
This common condition happens when the tissues and tendons that hold the joints together become loose. In instances where the structure is hereditary, the fallen arch is normal. This is also normal in infants and toddlers. The arches develop over time as the child nears 2 to 3 years of age. For some people, however, the arch never forms.
In other cases, the arches fall due to an aging and illness. An injury to the muscle or tendon in that area of the foot can also spur this condition. Arthritis may trigger a fallen arch in someone who previously had fully-formed foot structures. Adult-acquired flat feet can also happen in women more than 40 years old. The tendon stretches over time and causes the arch to slowly but gradually fall to the ground.
The muscles can become stiffer and weaker over time with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and muscular dystrophy, leading to a flattened foot. Obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure are other conditions linked to a lack of arches.
In children, the only problem associated a flatter foot is called tarsal coalition, which is where the foot bones fuse and grow together. In that case, your kid needs rest and possibly a cast.
Risks for Other Foot Problems
While flat feet may cause little or no problems for some people, there’s still a chance you can develop other conditions because of overpronation. This is when your foot rolls too far inwards when taking a step. The uneven distribution of weight on certain areas of your foot can cause Achilles tendon problems and ankle joint damage. The excess strain on muscles and ligaments can also create pain on the inside of your ankle, arch, calf, knees, back, and the outside of your foot.
Treatment to Keep You Afloat
Shoe choice is going to play a big role in treatment. Avoid high heels and make sure you find an arch support that caters to your specific arch type. Dr. Michael Stein and Zeindelin Ahmad, DPM, can create a pair of custom orthotics that can match your specific foot structure and displace the pressure and weight that’s building on the arch.
If you have flat arches that are giving you persistent pain, don’t hesitate to call the Foot Doctor of the East Bay at (510) 483-3390, serving San Leandro, Los Gatos, Pleasanton, and the surrounding San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose communities. We’re also available on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter!
Photo Credit: rimkaitis