Flat Feet

Flatfoot (Pes Planus) is a condition in which one or both feet have too little or no arch. When people with flat feet stand, the arch of the foot presses into the ground. The arch is not visible in the foot at all when bearing weight, but it can become visible when you lift the foot from the ground.

Babies have flat feet at birth. The arch typically forms around the age of 6. In approximately 2 out of 10 children, flat feet will persist into adulthood. 

There are four main types of flat feet.

Flexible

  • Most common type
  • Arches are visible when sitting but will disappear when weight is put on the foot.
  • Onset during childhood or teen years. 
  • It affects both feet and will worsen with age. 
  • As you age, tendons and ligaments in the arches may stretch, tear, and swell, causing increased pain.

 

Rigid

  • No visible arches when standing or sitting. 
  • Develops during the teen or adult years and worsens with age. 
  • This condition inhibits range of motion and may make it difficult to flex the foot up or down or move them side-to-side.
  • This could affect one foot or both feet.

 

Adult-Acquired or Fallen Arch

  • Unexpected drop or collapse of the foot’s arch.
  • This collapse causes the foot to turn outward and is oftentimes painful. 
  • The condition may affect one or both feet.
  • Most often, the cause of this type of flat feet is inflammation or a tear in the leg tendon supporting the arch, or trauma.

 

Vertical Talus

  • Birth defect that prevents arches from forming. 
  • The talus bone in the foot takes on a vertical position.
  • The bottom of the foot resembles the base of a rocking chair. 
  • Also known as a rocker-bottom foot.

 

Symptoms

Flat feet may not cause discomfort, or they may be accompanied by one or more of the following: 

  • Leg cramps
  • Muscle pain, aching, or fatigue in the foot or leg
  • Pain in the arch, ankle, heel, or outside of the foot
  • Pain when walking or standing
  • Rolled-in ankles
  • Shin splints
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoe
  • Knee, hip, and lower back pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Toe drift (when the front part of the foot and toes point outward)

 

Causes 

Flat feet might be a genetic condition, running in families. Some people have high arches and others might have almost absent arches. Others could develop flat feet in adulthood. 

 

Risk Factors 

Problems that can increase the risk of flat feet  include:

  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Broken bones/trauma
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Diabetes
  • Down syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Shoes with poor support

 

Diagnosis

Keir Foot & Ankle Specialists are experts in diagnosing flat feet in the Beverly/Mount Greenwood/Morgan Park and the the greater Chicagoland area. A simple assessment of your symptoms and an evaluation of how your arches look when standing, sitting, and walking is often sufficient. In most cases, X-rays or other imaging may be used to look closer at bone structure.

For children, early intervention is key for this condition. If you notice any abnormalities or your child complains of pain in their feet or legs when walking or standing, their feet should be examined by a podiatrist.

 

Non-Surgical Treatment

  • Prescription or non-prescription medications
  • Rest, ice, elevation to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the foot/ankle and improve range of motion and flexibility
  • Custom orthotics (shoe inserts), Ankle Foot Orthosis (leg/ankle braces) or custom shoes.

In rare cases, surgery is necessary to fix rigid flat feet or problems with bones or tendons that develop because of flat feet. Many times, people with flat feet might get surgery for an associated problem like a tendon tear or rupture. 

If your flat feet are causing balance problems, difficulty walking, stiff and painful feet, or you suddenly developed flat feet, it is time to contact Keir Foot & Ankle. In addition, parents should keep an eye on their children’s feet as they get older. Children are often not in tune to these issues and won’t notice a problem until years later. If you notice any abnormalities, their feet should be examined by a podiatrist. We have years of experience treating patients in Morgan Park, Palos Park, Worth, and more who are struggling with flat feet. We will help you manage the condition and get back on your feet—pain free.

 

Surgical Treatment

Surgery may be necessary to fix symptomatic flat feet. Over time problems with bones or tendons will cause flat feet to become painful. There are less invasive options available for children, teens, and young adults. As people age the condition can become such that foot reconstruction is necessary for continued mobility. Surgery for associated conditions such as tendon tears or ruptures may also be necessary. 

If you have a foot injury or a condition that’s getting worse, don’t live with the pain.

Treat Flat Feet at Keir Foot & Ankle Specialists

If your flat feet are causing balance problems, difficulty walking, stiff and painful feet, or you suddenly developed flat feet, it is time to contact Keir Foot & Ankle Specialists.

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