What are flat feet?
The arch of your foot is its main supportive structure. If this arch loses strength, the bony framework begins to collapse, causing your foot to flatten. Like a sagging bridge, the weakness in the middle strains the joints at both ends of your foot.
There are many causes of flat feet. Some people are born with them. Others acquire flat feet as a result of arthritis, trauma, or musculoskeletal disorders. Overuse or repeated pounding on hard surfaces can also weaken the foot’s arch.
Symptoms such as discomfort, because of flat feet, often do not occur for years. At some point, pain may be felt and walking may become awkward as increasing strain is put on your feet and calves.
The excess strain from flat feet can cause other foot problems such as; hammertoes,bunions, heel spurs, arch strain, corns, neuromas, and sagging joints. Flat feet can also affect other parts of the body, causing fatigue, pain, or stiffness in the ankles, knees, hips, and lower back.
To determine the best treatment for your problem, your podiatrist looks at your medical history, such as any medical problems you may have had in the past. He or she asks about the length and frequency of your symptoms, the types of activities you do, and any pain or problems you may have in other parts of your body. Your podiatrist does a complete examination of your foot, including a gait analysis to observe the movement and stability of your legs and feet as you walk.
If flat feet are diagnosed at an early age, chances are good that non-surgical treatment, such as strapping, custom shoe inserts (orthotics), or medication can help the problem.