In a healthy foot, a gap at the arch of the foot provides distance between you and the floor beneath your body while standing. Without a proper arch, the entire foot lays flush against the floor’s surface. This circumstance is clinically referred to as flatfeet.
All babies and toddlers have flatfeet because their arches haven’t developed yet. For most people, the foot arch forms during childhood. People without arches may or may not suffer from complications or pain, but symptoms vary on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, the arch is visible when the child is sitting or standing, but vanishes while standing. Most children outgrow this type of flatfeet.
Although usually painless, flatfeet can develop from an injury or with age. Over time, you may experience problems with your ankles and knees due to misalignment and general wear and tear. Other complications include foot pain or swelling on the inside of the ankle.
Risk factors for flatfeet include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
At your consultation for flatfeet complaints, we’ll ask you a series of questions related to your level of discomfort and onset of symptoms. Depending on your pain, we may use x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds or MRIs to get a detailed look at bones, joints, tendons and tissues.
If flatfeet are not causing you pain, treatment is not necessary. In cases where pain is a concern, the following treatments can help alleviate your symptoms:
- Physical therapy and gait analysis
- Stretching exercises
- Orthotics (arch supports)
- Supportive shoes