How to Tell If You Have Flat Feet and What You Could Do

Flat feet don't just affect your feet but can also cause pain in your knees, ankles and hips. Your Lake Ridge and Stafford, VA podiatrists--Dr. Douglas Stabile, Dr. Mark Scripps, Dr. Richard Derner, Dr. Andy Joseph Roussel and Dr. Michael Cashdollar--explain how to tell if you have flat feet and what you can do to treat the problem.

Take the wet test

The wet test offers a simple way to tell if you have flat feet and involves just three steps:

  1. Immerse your feet in a container of water.
  2. Step on a brown paper bag, sidewalk or other surface that will allow you to clearly see the imprint of your feet.
  3. Take a close look at the imprint. The inner portion of your foot between your toes and heel will appear very narrow on the imprint if you have a normal arch. If that area is completely filled in or almost completely filled in, you have flat feet.

Why are flat feet a problem?

When your feet are flat, tendons and ligaments in your feet become weak, which causes pain in your feet, especially in your arch or heel. Pain may also be felt in your leg muscles. Because flat feet can change the alignment of your leg, pain can eventually occur in your ankles, knees or hips, and your posture may even be affected. Pain may not be obvious when you are sitting or lying down, but tends to get worse when you are active.

Why do I have flat feet?

Some people are born with flat feet but others develop the condition after an injury. Other possible causes include:

How can my foot doctor help me?

Your podiatrist can offer several solutions that will help ease your pain. Custom-made orthotics are worn in your shoes and raise your arch, which helps keep your leg aligned. Stretching exercises may be recommended if your condition is caused by an Achilles tendon that is too short. Physical therapy may also be recommended.

Author
Associated Foot & Ankle Centers of Northern Virginia, PC

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