Breaking Down Flatfoot Mechanics

Flat feet occurs in almost 40% of the population, but many people don’t understand the mechanics behind it. Like every other part of our bodies (nose, eyes, height, etc), the makeup and structure of our feet are determined by our genetics. Flat feet usually begin in childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood. It usually occurs in both feet and progresses in severity throughout the adult years.

As the deformity worsens, the soft tissues (tendons and ligaments) of the arch may stretch or tear, worsening flat feet. Flat feet that develop later in life are usually a result of tearing of a major tendon and ligament within in the ankle. This can occur due to poorly fitting shoes or weight gain.

If you have flat feet, you may experience:

  • Pain in the heel, arch, ankle, or along the outside of the foot
  • “Rolled-in” ankle (over-pronation)
  • Pain along the shin bone (shin splints)
  • General aching or fatigue in the foot or leg
  • Low back, hip or knee pain

Flat feet can be treated with a variety of methods. Orthotics to support the arch and OTC pain medications to control pain are the first line of treatment. Your podiatrist may recommend physical therapy to strengthen weak areas or temporary immobilization to allow for healing time. Steroid injections into the affected area are also a treatment option.

In some patients whose pain is not adequately relieved by other treatments, surgery may be considered. A variety of surgical techniques are available to correct flexible flatfoot. One or a combination of procedures may be used to relieve negative symptoms and improve foot function.

In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, your foot and ankle surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your deformity based on the x-ray findings, your age, your activity level, and other factors.

If you are suffering from pain or injury due to flat feet, make an appointment with the FAAWC today. Our foot and ankle specialists will help determine the best treatments for your unique needs. Call 740.363.4373

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