Researchers estimate that up to 30% of Americans have flat feet. The condition isn’t always serious, but it can increase the risk of lower back pain, gait issues, or poor posture. At North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists, Joshua Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, FACPM, and Sarina Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, provide various treatment options to manage flat feet. To make an appointment at the office in Gainesville or Lake City, Florida, call today.
What are flat feet?
If you have flat feet, it means your soles make direct contact with the floor whenever you’re sitting or standing. Everyone is born with flat feet, but arches typically develop by the age of six.
Many adults have flat feet due to fallen arches. This condition occurs when the tendon that supports your arch –– the posterior tibial tendon –– is injured or weakened. You might also experience flat feet due to posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD), an overuse injury caused by general wear and tear.
Flat feet don’t always present symptoms — many people with flat feet don’t realize there’s anything wrong. If you regularly experience foot pain that interferes with your quality of life, it’s important to seek professional treatment.
What are the symptoms of flat feet?
Symptoms of flat feet include:
- Leg cramps
- Muscle pain
- Ankle or arch pain
- Pain on the outside edge of your foot
- Plantar fasciitis
- Increased fatigue
- Arthritis of the foot and ankle
As the condition gets worse, you might also experience changes in your gait or posture.
What causes flat feet?
Often, flat feet occur due to genetics. For example, if you have family members with flat feet, you’re more likely to have them as well. Other factors that increase the risk of flat feet include:
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Broken bones
- Cerebral palsy
- High blood pressure
You’re also more likely to experience flat feet if you have an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis.
When should I visit a podiatrist about flat feet?
Make an appointment at North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists if you experience balance problems, pain when walking, or stiff, painful feet. That’s especially true if your symptoms last for more than a few days or don’t respond to rest and over-the-counter pain medicine.
How are flat feet diagnosed?
To diagnose flat feet, North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms, including when they first started and their severity. Your provider has you stand up and walk a short distance to observe your gait and posture. They might also order a series of X-rays to assess the health and structure of the bones in your feet.
How are flat feet treated?
Treatment of flat feet depends on several factors, including the severity of your symptoms and their effect on your daily life. Usually, North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists recommends non-invasive, conservative treatments like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), custom orthotics, or physical therapy. Surgery is an option for advanced cases.
If you’re overweight or obese, you might benefit from losing a few pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight relieves pressure on your arches and can significantly improve your quality of life.
To receive treatment for flat feet, make an appointment at North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists by calling the nearest office today.