When you stand for long periods of time, do your feet become painful? Maybe they tire easily, or maybe you have pain in your arch or heel. Do you ever experience swelling in the arch or the heel, or have difficulty moving your foot around and standing on your toes? These are all symptoms of flat feet.
Take a look at the bottoms of your feet. What do they look like? Do you have arches to rival McDonald’s, or do they more closely resemble a pancake? Many times, people have had flat feet all their lives, but never felt any pain from them. Sometimes, flat feet can become painful as life goes on. If your flat feet are causing you pain, what is there to do about it?
First things first: what exactly does it mean to have flat feet?
You may have heard of another term associated with flat feet: pronation. Pronation is what happens when weight-bearing causes your arches to collapse; the inside of your ankle appears to roll toward the ground. There are two types of flat feet that can result in pronation: a flexible flat foot or a structural flat foot. If the arch collapses as the foot hits the ground, this is a flexible flat foot. If the arch stays flat all the time, regardless of the stress the foot is under, this is called a structural, or rigid, flat foot.
So who can have flat feet?
Anybody can have flat feet, whether you’re a child or an adult. The difference is in how it presents itself in each population. Most children with flat feet have a flexible flat foot, which is not usually painful. Generally both of their feet will be flat, but it can be just on one side. We often times prescribe custom inserts to encourage good support to the feet and to alleviate over-stressing certain tendons and ligaments. We also find adults tend to have progressive flat feet, that continue to get worse with age and activity. Custom inserts often times can prevent further stressing of the posterior tibial tendon, a problem which can cause pain and arthritis.
Now that I know about my flat feet, what can I do about them?
There are many ways to treat flat feet. The first thing your doctor will probably do is modify your footwear. Sometimes a simple change in shoes, or an insertion of custom foot orthotics, can make all the difference. An orthotic designed especially for your feet can support your arches and ease that flat-footed pain. If that doesn’t work, there are a number of other treatments available, such as medicines or injections, rest, physical therapy, as well as other treatments. The right treatment for your foot depends on the type of flat foot you have and how much pain it is causing you.
If you’re tired of feet as flat as boards and the pain they cause, come visit us at Raleigh Foot & Ankle Center. Here you will find the right treatment and diagnosis for your feet. The doctors at Raleigh Foot & Ankle Center will be sure to get you back on your feet (without the pain) as soon as possible!
To schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists, please call our office at (919) 850-9111 or use our online Request an Appointment form. We serve patients from Raleigh, Cary and Wake Forest in Wake County, NC and surrounding communities in and around the Raleigh-Durham Area and the rest of North Carolina. Hablamos Español.
At Raleigh Foot & Ankle Center, we are dedicated to giving our patients the information they need to get back on their feet as soon as possible. Our goal is to educate you so that you better understand your foot and ankle injuries. Our informational brochures will help you learn what it takes to be back to the activities you love in no time at all. If you would like your free copies of our brochures, please request your copies here!