I have heard the term “flat feet”. What does that mean?
Essentially, having flat feet just means that the arch of the foot is flattened or collapsed. Though the definition is simple, the condition is actually quite involved because there are varying reasons that this occurs, and the symptoms may be different. Many people who experience flat feet, no matter the cause, also experience inward rolling of the ankles (overpronation), heel pain, knee pain, and bunions.
Some people are born with flat feet, and they may see a pattern of that in their family. A child’s feet often appear flat, but arches typically develop over time. Adults may experience fallen arches due to being overweight, arthritis, injury, or as a natural part of aging. For some people, this condition is completely painless. Others experience related discomfort because pressure is not distributed evenly over the feet, and so body alignment is affected.
I have knee and hip pain, could these be symptoms of flat feet? How do I know?
Yes! Take off your shoes, and look at where the soles are most worn. If you have flat feet, you will notice that the most wear appears on the inside. This is due to the turning in of the ankle that occurs during walking. As the ankle rolls in, there is extra strain placed on the inside of the knees and pain results. Unfortunately, the pain often extends up the whole body affecting the hips and spine.
Another test that may help you determine the shape of your feet is called the “wet test.” Get your feet wet and step on a piece of brown paper (a paper bag will work). Now look at the outline of your feet. If you see your whole foot print on the paper, you have flat feet!
Are there special shoes for people with flat feet?
Podiatrist Lawrence Kales can prescribe Lawrence Kales will prescribe Custom Orthotics that will help make your shoes more comfortable. You can also visit a shoe store, and look for a style that will provide motion control and stability, which are helpful for people who over-pronate. Additional support and shock absorption will also be beneficial. Remember, that your shoes should always conform to your feet, and not the other way around—don’t ever force your foot into a pair of shoes.
What else can the doctor do for me?
You only need treatment if your flat feet are causing you pain. If they are, Lawrence Kales DPM can discuss your symptoms with you and determine the best course of action. He may prescribe orthotics, or exercises that will strengthen your feet. Many people have heel pain with this condition, so he might suggest stretches for the Achilles tendon. He can also go over what you should look for when buying shoes.
Are flat feet causing your pain and discomfort? Call the office of Lawrence Kales DPM today, and be on your way to healthier, happier feet. Visit our Spring Hill, FL or Hudson, FL locations, or request an appointment by filling out the appointment request form.