Flat feet or overpronation is a condition that occurs when the arch of the foot collapses, causing the entire sole to come into contact with the ground. While babies and toddlers are usually born with flat feet, the arch tends to develop as they start to stand and walk. As we get older, most of us develop a normal arch. However, some individuals may continue to have flat feet, which can lead to pain in the foot, ankle, and lower leg.
When the feet touch the ground, the ankle bones are supposed to be slightly tilted toward the center of the body. However, in individuals with flat feet, the ankle bones have a more pronounced inward lean, or pronation. This inward lean disrupts the normal alignment of the bones in the foot and ankle, which can cause pain, discomfort, and instability.
Flat feet can affect anyone, from infants to the elderly. In many cases, people with flat feet do not experience pain or any other problems. However, if you experience pain in the foot, ankle, or lower leg, especially in children, it may be time to see a doctor.
One of the most common conditions associated with flat feet is painful progressive flatfoot, also known as tibialis posterior tendonitis or adult-acquired flatfoot. This condition is caused by inflammation or damage to the tibialis posterior tendon, which runs down the inside of the ankle and foot. The tibialis posterior is responsible for supporting the arch of the foot and helping to point the toes downward. When the tendon is damaged, stretched, or torn, it can cause pain, swelling, and weakness in the affected foot.
People with flat feet or an unusual attachment of the tibialis posterior tendon to the bones in the midfoot are more likely to develop painful progressive flatfoot. Treatment for this condition may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, icing, physical therapy, supportive taping, bracing, and orthotics. If the condition is severe, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the damaged tendon.
It’s important to note that flat feet can also cause problems in other parts of the body, including the knees, hips, and lower back. When the feet are misaligned, it can put extra strain on these joints, which can lead to pain and discomfort.
If you suspect you have flat feet, or if you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet, ankle, or lower leg, it’s important to see a podiatrist or other healthcare professional right away. Dr. Gilbert Huang DPM is a podiatrist who specializes in treating foot and ankle conditions, including flat feet. He can evaluate your feet, diagnose any underlying conditions, and recommend appropriate treatments to help relieve your pain and discomfort. With his expert care and guidance, you can get back to living life to the fullest without worrying about pain or discomfort in your feet.