As the name implies, those who have flatfeet have no visible arches. This means the entire soles of their feet touch the floor when they stand up. This condition is common and usually painless. It’s typically caused when the arches don’t develop properly during childhood, but can also occur from injury or simple wear-and-tear as the body ages.
For some, though, flatfeet can cause complications. Luckily, there are several available treatments that can help make these complications more manageable.
Potential Complications from Flatfeet
- General Pain –The pain that arises from flatfeet is often located on the foot, inside the ankle or on the lower leg. However, it may also occur in the knees, hips or other joints due to muscle strain from poor alignment. Typically, discomfort is at its worst when physically active and improves with rest.
- Bunions – A bunion is a bony bump that appears at the joint at the base of the big toe. Often the result of ill-fitting shoes, individuals with flatfeet are more prone than others to experience this painful condition.
- Plantar Fasciitis – The plantar fascia is a broad band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes. Excessive stretching of this tissue can lead to tears and inflammation, resulting in stabbing pain in the heel or arch. Flatfeet can place excessive strain on the plantar fascia, which can cause plantar fasciitis.
Treatment Options for Flatfeet
A physical exam and X-rays can help determine if flatfeet are problematic. Most cases of painful flatfeet can be treated through simple measures such as:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), rest, and ice to help ease pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen tight tendons and muscles, which can improve flexibility and mobility.
- Custom-designed arch supports known as orthotics, foot or leg braces, and custom-made shoes.
Foot and Ankle Care in Baton Rouge
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort as a result of flatfeet or have any questions or concerns regarding your feet or ankles, contact Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge to make an appointment. Regardless of the issue you may be experiencing, our foot and ankle specialists can have you, quite literally, back on your feet in no time.