Flat feet is a condition that develops when the ligaments and other structures that support the midfoot region become weak or damaged or simply don’t develop normally during early childhood. When a person with flat feet stands up, the entire sole (or nearly the entire sole) touches the floor; by contrast, in a normal foot, the curved arch portion of the midfoot remains off the floor, providing critical support for the midfoot region as well as the ball of the foot and even the ankle.
The arch is important for maintaining flexibility in the feet and for helping to maintain balance when walking and standing.
You can develop flat feet as you get older as a result of wear and tear from walking, running, hiking, and other activities that cause the supportive tendons, ligaments, and other tissues to weaken or become damaged. Flat feet can also develop as a result of injury or congenital defect, and they’re more common among people with:
The most common symptom is usually focused on the arch area but often extends along the entire bottom of the foot to the toe and heel areas. Many people experience significant discomfort along the inner edge of the foot, especially when standing.
Flat foot pain can be accompanied by other symptoms like tingling or burning sensations as inflammation in the area increases. Without proper treatment, many people with flat feet experience gait changes as they try to minimize their painful symptoms. These changes can result in pain and strain in the:
Treatment for flat foot pain begins with a complete exam, sometimes accompanied by X-rays, to confirm a diagnosis and guide treatment. Once the diagnosis has been made, Dr. Blue may:
When these conservative options aren’t effective in providing long-term relief, Dr. Blue may recommend surgery to repair and restore your arch.
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