Have you ever experienced pain in the arch or heel of your foot? Maybe you’ve noticed that your foot appears flatter than usual. If so, you may be experiencing fallen arches. Fallen arches, or flat feet, are a common condition that affects many adults, but there’s no need to suffer in silence. Understanding the causes and symptoms of flat feet can help you manage your condition and improve your quality of life.
Fallen arches occur when the main arch-supporting tendon in the foot, known as the posterior tibial tendon, becomes weakened or injured. This can cause the arch of the foot to gradually collapse and the shape of the foot to change. As the arch falls, your shoe may start to wear unevenly or your foot may roll inward while walking. Over time, this can contribute to several problems, including:
– Plantar fasciitis: This condition causes pain and inflammation in the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that runs along the bottom of your foot, from the heel to the toes.
– Tendonitis: Inflammation or irritation of the tendons in the foot can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness.
– Increased fatigue: When the arches of your feet are weak, your muscles have to work harder to support your body weight while standing, walking, or running. This extra strain can lead to fatigue and discomfort in the feet, legs, and lower back.
– Arthritis: Over time, the wear and tear on your joints caused by fallen arches can contribute to the development of arthritis in the foot and ankle.
It’s important to note that fallen arches should not be confused with other causes of flatfoot that may develop during childhood or adolescence. In those cases, the condition is often related to a structural abnormality in the foot.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort related to fallen arches, there are several treatment options available. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend:
– Physical therapy: Exercises and stretches can help strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility in your feet and ankles.
– Orthotics: Custom-made shoe inserts can provide extra support and cushioning for your feet.
– Bracing: A brace or ankle support can help stabilize the foot and reduce pain.
– Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids may be prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or reconstruct the damaged tendon and restore the arch to its normal height. Your doctor can help determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
If you suspect that you may have fallen arches, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above, it may be helpful to see a podiatrist like Dr Gilbert Huang DPM. A foot and ankle specialist can perform a thorough evaluation and recommend a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs. Don’t let fallen arches keep you from enjoying an active, pain-free lifestyle. With the right care and management, you can get back on your feet and feel your best.