I’d like to clear up some common misconceptions about flat feet. Many people become worried about the fact that they have or their child has flat feet. Here is the simple thing about flat feet: if they don’t hurt or if they don’t bother you, then your flat feet are nothing to be worried about. Flat feet are sometimes just another variation between individuals, like high cheekbones or being double-jointed. However, if your flat feet do hurt or start to bother you, then we have more to talk about.
When flat feet are bothersome, we have to identify exactly what is causing trouble, which could be the tendons, bones, or joints of the foot. Many times, the tendon is the problem, since it is the main stabilizer of the arch of the foot. If it becomes irritated or rubs on the bone, it doesn’t support the arch as well. Or flat feet could lead to a tight Achilles tendon, affecting the way you walk, where instead of your heels hitting the ground first, you walk on the mid-part of your foot, which can cause pain, tightness, and other problems.
Usually, we can check the feet using x-rays to help identify if there is a tendon or bone or even arthritis issue. MRIs can also be used to check for ruptures or tears in the tendons. If there are, in fact, a lot of tears, you could benefit from a brace, orthotics (shoe inserts), or a walking boot. Of course, physical therapy concentrating on strengthening the small muscles in the foot and proper stretching is highly valuable.
The key is dealing with any discomfort or pain due to flat feet early on when it can be treated more easily as opposed to waiting too long and needing surgery. But, once again, there is a range of normal when it comes to different individuals’ feet and the amount of flexibility of the feet. So, if your flat feet are pain-free, you can relax and not worry about needing to go out and buy arch supports.
If you’d like more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Beth Dollinger, click here to find her contact information listed in our provider directory.