Although flat feet aren't uncommon, they can cause major pain in some people. Flat feet are a result of arches that have fallen or were never properly formed during early childhood. For most people, there are little to no side effects from flat feet, except perhaps the need for wider shoes. In a few, though, flat feet can be accompanied by pain. Understanding the symptoms of flat feet and what you can do about it can help provide some relief.
The most common symptom of flat foot problems are pain and discomfort in the heel or arch, although occasionally ankle pain can also be a problem. The periods of pain typically follow excessive standing or walking, although one may also feel discomfort after a relatively short activity that involved being on one's feet. Shoes may also feel uncomfortable or restrictive, particularly in the arch.
While pain and discomfort are the most noticeable issues with flat feet, there are other problems you may experience. Most common is ankle or knee problems, which typically occur when one changes their gait in an attempt to mitigate the pain they are feeling due to their fallen arches. In some cases, the cause of a fallen arch could be due to a damaged muscle, tendon, or ligament, which will require treatment so it can heal properly. In children, pain from flat feet can cause developmental delays if the child avoids walking or running due to the discomfort.
Surgical treatment is rarely necessary unless there is an underlying issue with the muscles or tendons that must be addressed. In young children, bones in the foot sometimes fuse improperly, which leads to flat feet. This is another case where surgery may be recommended. Generally, treatment is focused on therapy and exercises. Your podiatrist will likely prescribe physical therapy. You will learn specific stretching and muscle building exercises that will strengthen your feet so you do not experience pain anymore. You may also need therapy to correct your gait. Orthopedic shoes or inserts may also be prescribed. Sometimes, sufficient arch support is all that is needed to remedy the discomfort and get you back on your feet again. Most podiatrists will prescribe a combination of physical therapy and orthopedic devices in order to fully address the condition and mitigate the pain.
For more answers, contact a podiatry doctor in your area. They can help diagnose you with the most appropriate podiatry treatment to deal with your flat foot pain.