An arch in the foot that is low or does not exist is known as flatfoot. This condition can occur in both children and adults. While flat feet can be painful, the condition can be successfully treated by a range of methods regardless of your age.
Causes of Flat Feet
Unlike adults, children can outgrow flat feet on their own. This condition can be common in children since a child’s arches have not fully developed yet. For children, an insert or orthotic can be worn to help develop an arch.
In adults, some cases of flat feet occur from childhood and are inherited. However, adult-acquired flatfoot or posterior tibial tendon insufficiency happens when feet that once had a normal arch become flat. This can worsen over time as the person ages. People whose feet roll in when walking are more prone to the condition. This is due to the stress on the ligaments and tendons that support a natural foot arch.
Some other causes of flat feet in adults are:
Adults over the age of 40 who are more sedentary have the highest risk of developing flat feet.
Flat feet can develop during pregnancy.
Excessive weight can put pressure on the feet and weaken the arch.
Uncontrolled medical condition.
Conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis can put people at a higher risk of developing flat feet.
Flatfoot can develop as a result of an injury such as a stretched tendon or fracture.
Symptoms of Flat Feet
Some people are unaware that they have flatfoot until pain occurs. This is often the first symptom that they experience. Some common symptoms of adult-acquired flat feet are:
- Foot deformity
- Pain while standing or walking
- Pain in the ankle
- Swelling in the feet and ankles
- Visible lack of an arch
If you are experiencing symptoms, consult with your podiatrist. He will examine your feet to diagnose you and determine the cause of your condition.
Recommended Treatment for Adult-Acquired Flatfoot
Having flat feet can often be painful. The goal of treatment is to eliminate the pain. Some common treatments that help correct flatfoot in adults include:
An over-the-counter arch support or custom orthotic made by your podiatrist can provide extra cushioning in your arch and help with proper foot alignment.
Shoes that give support and hold the foot in place while walking can help with flat feet.
To relieve pain and reduce swelling, you can take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
A regimen of exercises and therapies is used for runners and athletes to help them manage the condition.
Often, rest combined with ice can help when flatfoot causes pain.
Doing stretches for a tight Achilles tendon can often help with pain from adult-acquired flat feet.
In more severe cases, surgery may be an option. A minimally invasive surgery such as a tendon transfer or osteotomy is considered lower in risk and can be done for the early stages of flatfoot. A fusion surgery used to correct arthritis is a permanent solution and is done for later stages of flatfoot.
Every case is unique, but most can be corrected with a combination of treatments. Your podiatrist will be able to determine the best treatment for your specific case. There is no need to suffer from chronic pain or to put off doing activities that you enjoy.
Do You Need the Help of an Experienced and Caring Podiatrist?
If you're experiencing any type of foot pain, you should speak with an experienced podiatrist as soon as possible. Please contact us online to schedule your appointment or call one of our convenient El Paso offices directly. To reach our Sierra Tower Building podiatrist office, please call 915.533.5151. You can find driving directions here. To reach our George Dieter Drive podiatry office, please call 915.856.3331. Driving directions are available here.