Image via Wikipedia
Our feet are flexible and our arches develop over time. By adulthood, most people have an arch that has developed in the bottom of their feet though there are also many who experience flat fleet. Flat feet are a common condition of the foot structure where there has been a partial or total loss of the arch of the foot.
Flat feet are generally associated with something called pronation, when the ankle bones in roll inward. When this happens, one loses the arch of the foot and the entire foot touches the ground while standing.
To look at a diagram of what pronation looks like and also a diagram showing the difference of a normal foot vs. a flat foot click here: http://footphysicians.com/Content.aspx?id=1291&terms=flat+feet.
Flat feet can be caused when the arches don’t develop during childhood, from an injury or simply from wear and tear as we age. They are often not associated with any complications although some people may experience pain in the heel or arch, swelling on the inside of the ankle and difficulty standing on tiptoe.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons also offers the following steps that can be taken to help with flat feet and ways a podiatrist can help. Read more information about each of these tips here:
- Activity modifications. Cut down on activities that bring you pain.
- Weight loss. Putting too much weight on your arches may aggravate your symptoms.
- Orthotic devices. Custom orthotic devices for your shoes can give more support to the arches.
- Immobilization. In some cases, it may be necessary to use a walking cast or to completely avoid weight-bearing.
- Medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy. May be used to provide temporary relief.
- Shoe modifications. Wearing shoes that support the arches is important for anyone who has flatfoot.
Read more about flat feet in the patient education section provided by Dr. Andrew Marso DPM, a highly respected podiatrist here: http://www.forestviewfootandankle.com/library/1812/FlatFeet%28overpronation%29.html.