Flat Feet and Fallen Arches

Have you ever looked at the inside of your foot and noticed the arch in the middle of it?

Some people do not have this arch, whether because of heredity or injury, and this condition is called flat feet or fallen arches. It is also is linked to the gait—or walking pattern—known as overpronation. This is a common biomechanical problem that occurs in the walking process when a person's arch collapses upon weight bearing. This motion can cause extreme stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, possibly causing severe discomfort and leading to other foot problems.

What Causes Flat Feet?

People with flat feet often do not experience discomfort immediately, and some never suffer from any discomfort at all. However, when symptoms develop and become painful, walking becomes awkward and causes increase strain on the feet and calves. You may have flat feet if your feet tire easily, if your feet ache (especially in the arch area), or if you develop back and leg pain.

Causes of fallen arches include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Repetitive running on a hard surface, which can weaken the arch and lead to overpronation
  • An abnormality present from birth that may have been genetic
  • Damage or inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon, which connects from your lower leg, along your ankle, and to the middle of the arch
  • Arthritis
  • Broken bones

Treating Flat Feet

Treatment depends entirely on the severity of your fallen arches. If you aren't in any pain and your flat feet aren't affecting your life in a negative way, you probably don't need to do anything. Even if there is pain, you can probably treat your condition very conservatively with over-the-counter orthotics. Your orthotics should be designed with appropriate arch support and medial rear-foot posting to prevent the overpronation.

Footwear should also be examined to ensure there is a proper fit. Footwear with a firm heel counter is often recommended for extra support and stability. Improper fitting footwear can lead to additional problems of the foot.

Other options include rest, icing, stretching, and pain-relief medications. Try to avoid any kind of high-impact sports or any activities that put excessive weight or stress on your feet. If your flat feet are very severe, surgery may be an option; your podiatrist will be able to make the best recommendation for you.

If you have flat feet and they are causing you pain or discomfort, call 704-861-0425 to reach the North Carolina foot care specialists at Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists in Gastonia. 

Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists

251 Wilmot Drive
Gastonia, NC 28054