Flat feet could be part of your DNA, the result of an injury, or related to the wear-and-tear of aging. Regardless of the cause, it’s time to seek treatment if you’re having symptoms.
Our highly-skilled physicians at Foot & Ankle Specialists of Ohio, with locations in Mentor, Chardon, Westlake, Lakewood, and Garfield Heights, Ohio, offer personalized, comprehensive treatment for painful foot and ankle conditions affecting your mobility and overall quality of life.
Read what our expertly trained team wants you to know about flat feet, why they’re problematic, and how we can help.
Why are my feet flat?
Your feet typically develop an arch along the inner side in childhood, usually by age six. This gentle curve, formed by a series of bones, tendons, and ligaments, offers improved balance and flexibility in your feet. The arch also provides a spring-like cushion that helps absorb the impact of walking, jumping, or running on your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and spine.
Pes planus, or flat foot deformity, occurs when one or both feet have little to no arch. About 20% of children never develop an arch. In some cases, however, flat feet develop because of an injury, chronic conditions that affect bone, tendon, and circulatory health, and age-related changes that cause weakening of the bony and soft tissue structures in your feet.
Issues that increase your risk of adult-onset flat feet include:
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Excess weight
- Foot fractures
- Hypertension and other circulatory issues
- Sports injuries
- Age-related degenerative changes in tendons, ligaments, and bone
While some people with flat feet never develop symptoms, the structural changes can eventually lead to painful musculoskeletal problems.
What problems can flat feet cause?
Symptoms related to flat feet can vary and may include leg cramps and aching pain in the heels, arch area, or balls of the feet. Depending on the severity of the abnormality, your ankles may also roll inward excessively, causing overpronation and resulting in gait abnormalities that can throw your knees, hips, and spine out of alignment when you walk or run.
Flat feet can increase your risk of:
- Shin splints (microfractures)
- Bone spurs
- Corns and calluses
- Achilles tendonitis
Gait abnormalities related to flat feet can cause chronic knee, hip, and lower back pain that may interfere with your mobility.
Treating flat feet
At Foot & Ankle Specialists of Ohio, your provider develops a customized treatment plan based on an initial evaluation and the underlying cause of your flat foot deformity.
Our physicians often recommend conservative therapies initially, including:
- Activity modification
- Physical therapy
- Custom-fitted orthotics (shoe inserts)
Surgery may sometimes be necessary to repair ligaments, tendons, and muscles or correct bony abnormalities.
Schedule an evaluation at Foot & Ankle Specialists of Ohio for further information about flat foot deformity and our treatments. Call the nearest office or use our secure online scheduling service to request an appointment.