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Flat Feet

What Are Flat Feet?

The arch of your foot is its main supportive structure. If this arch loses strength, the bony framework begins to collapse, causing your foot to flatten. Like a sagging bridge, the weakness in the middle strains the joints at both ends of your foot.

Causes of Flat Feet

There are many causes of flat feet. Some people are born with them. Others acquire flat feet as a result of arthritis, trauma, or musculoskeletal disorders. Overuse or repeated pounding on hard surfaces can also weaken the foot's arch.

Symptoms

Discomfort from flat feet often doesn't appear for years. At some point, pain may be felt and walking may become awkward as increasing strain is put on your feet and calves.

Related Problems

The excess strain from flat feet can cause other foot problems, such as hammertoes, bunions, heel spurs, arch strain, corns, neuromas, and sagging joints. Flat feet can also affect other parts of the body, causing fatigue, pain, or stiffness in the ankles, knees, hips, and lower back.

Exam

To determine the best treatment for your problem, Dr. Eric J. Paul will review your medical history, such as any medical problems you may have had in the past. He asks about the length and frequency of your symptoms, the types of activities you do, and any pain or problems you may have in other parts of your body. We do a complete examination of your foot, including a gait analysis to observe the movement and stability of your legs and feet as you walk.

Testing

If your problem is severe and your podiatrist suspects a bone problem, x-rays may be needed. If other problems are suspected, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) may be done, which reveals cross-sectional images of soft tissue and bone.

Treatment of Flat Feet

If flat feet are diagnosed at an early age, chances are good that nonsurgical treatment, such as strapping, custom shoe inserts (orthotics), or medication can help the problem.

Nonsurgical Care

  1. Strapping: Taping your feet may help by temporarily maintaining the proper position of your feet.
  2. Orthotics: Custom orthotics can readjust the weightbearing position of your feet. Soft, semi-flexible, or rigid inserts may be used, depending on your weight and physical activity.
  3. Medication: You may be given anti-inflammatory medication to temporarily relieve pain caused by flat feet.
  4. Surgery: If your flat feet cause chronic pain, surgery may be needed to correct the alignment of the bones in your feet, or to support or reinforce the tendon structures in your feet. Learn More About Surgery

What Can I Do About Flat Feet?

To help ease the pain of flat feet, try the following as part of your daily routine. If you have continuing problems, be sure to see your podiatrist.

  1. Shoes: Be sure your shoes are supportive and comfortable, with enough space in the toe box for toes to wiggle. Women should wear low-heeled shoes, not pumps.
  2. Stretching: To stretch your soles and tendons, try this: Lean on something stationary, with one leg in front of the other and both heels flat. Bend the front knee. Hold for 10 seconds. Bend your back knee, bringing the heel up. Hold for 10 seconds. Do this 5 times with each leg.
  3. Soaking and Massage:  Warm-water soaks or ice massages can help relieve pain. But if you have diabetes or a circulation problem, talk with your podiatrist first.

Patient Brochure: Flatfoot Correction

Futura™ CSI  Conical Subtalar Implant for Flexible Flatfoot: Pes Plano Valgus

Download Brochure for an overview of the correction of pes plano valgus, or flexible flatfoot deformity. It outlines the anatomy of the joint, treatment options, and what to expect after surgery.

Futura™ CSI  Conical Subtular Implant