You’re on your feet for the good part of the day — every day. This means if there’s a problem with your feet, your life can be turned upside down pretty quickly. Flat feet are just one of the problems that can occur, leading to joint pain and other problems as well.
At Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute, our team of experts is ready to help you understand how to take care of your flat feet. Leading our team is Dr. Jeffery McAlister, a highly trained foot and ankle specialist. He has the knowledge and specialized treatments to help you keep your feet in the best shape possible.
Flat feet occur when your feet have very little arch in them. This causes the majority of your foot to make contact with the ground. As a baby, everyone has flat feet. However, your arches should begin to form by the age of six.
There are several different types of flat feet, each affecting your foot differently. The four common types of this condition include:
Also known as fallen arches, adult acquired flat feet happens when your arches unexpectedly collapse. This can lead to your foot turning toward the outside, and can be pretty uncomfortable. It can affect only one of your feet or both. The most common cause of fallen arches is damage to your posterior tibial tendon in your leg.
Rigid flat foot happens when you don’t have any arch in your foot at all, whether you’re sitting or standing. Normally, this condition happens in your teens and continues to worsen with age. Rigid flat feet can be painful, and can affect one or both of your feet.
This is the most prevalent form of flat feet, and usually occurs in childhood or your teens. With flexible flat feet, you’re able to see the arch in your foot when you’re sitting, but putting weight on your foot makes it disappear. Both feet are usually affected, and the condition worsens with age.
A vertical talus is a type of flat foot that occurs in babies. It’s considered a birth defect, and is caused by an improper position of the talus bone in your ankle. This prevents the arches in your feet from forming properly, leading to what’s known as “rocker-bottom foot.”
There are a number of different risk factors for this condition, some of which are actually causes for flat feet as well. For instance, traumatic injuries put you at risk for flat feet, but can also be the cause. Other risk factors for this condition include:
You may also acquire flat feet from genetic issues that start in early childhood, or after you’ve been pregnant. You’re also at risk as you age, as your tendons and muscles don’t work as well.
Flat feet affect everyone differently; some people don’t have any issues, while you may have significant pain and discomfort. Luckily, there are plenty of measures you can take to care for your flat feet and get the relief you’ve been looking for.
Some of the ways you can conservatively take care of your flat feet include:
Getting off of your feet can help relieve some of the discomfort from flat feet. However, if you’re going to be active, try low-impact activities like walking or swimming. Avoid things like jumping, which puts more strain on your feet.
Over-the-counter arch supports can help reduce the symptoms of flat feet. Dr. McAlister also offers custom orthotics, which are specially designed to fit your foot. Although orthotics don’t cure the condition, they can help reduce your discomfort.
Your achilles tendon may be part of the reason you have flat feet. If this tendon is tight and shortened, it can lead to arch collapse. Stretching exercises can help to lengthen the tendon, alleviating some of the strain on your feet.
Getting fitted for shoes with the proper support is a good way to help your feet. Flip-flops, sandals, and heels put a lot of pressure on your feet and don’t provide much, if any, support. A good shoe can go a long way with flat feet.
Dr. McAlister may also recommend physical therapy to help you get some relief. Sometimes, flat feet are caused by improper technique or overuse injuries. A physical therapist can help by showing you stretches and good techniques to prevent further issues.
If you have flat feet, our team can help. Call us at 602-761-7819 to schedule a consultation with Dr. McAlister, or book an appointment online with us today.