What Is Flat Foot?

What Is Flat Foot?

Flat foot, or flat feet, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when your feet don’t have a natural arch. When you have a natural arch, it’s only the heel and ball of the foot that come in contact with the floor. Flat foot, also called fallen arches, is when your entire foot touches the floor. 

It’s a fairly common condition, especially as you get older, with about 12% of the United States adult population having flat feet or fallen arches. Fortunately, most of the time, it’s not a medical issue. 

However, it can be painful and lead to other foot problems. The podiatrists at Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers boast extensive experience treating pain and discomfort associated with flat feet. Here, they share what you need to know about this common foot issue. 

What causes flat feet?

All toddlers and infants have flat feet since foot arches don’t develop until early in childhood. However, in some cases, children’s feet don’t develop an arch at all. 

Flat feet can also develop slowly over time in adults. As you get older, you may lose the arch in your foot. 

Finally, flat foot can be the result of an injury. While anyone can develop flat foot, certain things put you at higher risk of developing it. Risk factors include:

Flat foot can cause foot, ankle, and heel pain. You may also feel achy and tired after standing for long periods. If you experience pain and discomfort, you should seek medical advice at our offices. 

Treatment options for flat foot

Treatment options for flat feet depend on the severity of the symptoms. 

For minor cases, buying comfortable, flat, and wide shoes may relieve pain. For many people without arches, an arch insert or arch support worn in your shoe can help. Many sporting goods stores and pharmacies carry them.

If a store-bought one doesn’t do the trick, a custom-made orthotic may be necessary. In addition to arch supports, stretching and other exercises can help relieve pain and discomfort, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers.

If these non-invasive methods fail to bring you relief, you may have issues with the bones, tissues, or muscles in your feet. In this case, surgery, while rarely necessary, is an option.

If you have pain and discomfort in your feet and suspect you have flat feet, call Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Specialists with offices in Lake Ridge and Stafford, Virginia, for an appointment with one of our expert podiatrists.

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