Foot care specialists like Chiropodists and Podiatrists are frequently called upon to explain the differences between a normal arch foot and that of a collapsed arch or flat foot. While some people with a flattened arch are fortunate enough to be able to live active and pain free lives, many will experience pain and discomfort that can range from mild and occasional to severe and constant.
It is by far the most common complaint that a foot specialist will be consulted about.
Things you should know about flat feet:
- You can be born with lowered or fallen arch structure that never fully develops.
- You can acquire a lowered or fallen arch structure due to poor foot mechanics that create torn or stretched tendons.
- Trauma to the foot, like broken or dislocated bones can also contribute to fallen arches.
- Systemic diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis and nerve damage can also cause a flattening of the arches.
- Other factors that can increase the likelihood of being flat footed include: obesity, diabetes, aging and pregnancy.
How can you tell if you have symptomatic flat feet or fallen arches?
As we already noted, some flat footed people do not experience any symptoms or decrease in foot function, while others are extremely affected by this common condition. Features of acquired flat foot include:
1. Feet that tire easily
2. Painful arches, heels, ankle areas and sometimes Achilles tendon
3. Swelling in the heel and arch area
4. Foot instability when standing on tip toe
5. Frequent ankle sprains and strains caused by rolling over of the foot
How can your Chiropodist/Podiatrist help you with this kind of foot pain?
Your CanadaPhysio footcare specialist can help you find relief from flat foot pain and dysfunction by providing you with education and treatment that can include:
- Supportive Footwear: Comfortable shoes that provide support to the inside arch area and can stabilize the heel area will increase your comfort level and prevent further collapse and stretching of foot tendons.
- Orthotics can in many cases assist in maintaining better foot structure and function and decreasing the strain on the over stretched tendons that make up the foot arch. They also assist in realigning the ankle joint so that the foot has optimal foot function when standing, walking and running.
- Arch wraps and supports that help stabilize your foot especially during acute painful episodes. It provides your foot with the support that it needs in order to alleviate the pain caused by overstretched tendons and inflammation to the area.
- Physical therapy treatment and exercises aimed at strengthening and rehabilitating the stretched tendons. This can include treatment like Ultra Sound Therapy, Shockwave Therapy, Application of Interferential Current (IFC). Resistance band training and exercise has yielded very positive results in strengthening weakened or fallen arches.
- In severe and persistent cases, surgical intervention is sometimes required to stabilize and reconstruct a foot arch that has completely collapsed.
Foot pain is a common condition affecting men, women and children. It is best to have your feet looked at by a foot care specialist who can evaluate your condition and best advise you on a course of action that will diminish pain and increase your foot function. Don’t let foot pain prevent you from participating in and enjoying life to the fullest. Treatment is readily available at any conveniently locations to serve your needs across Ontario, in Toronto, Scarborough, Whitby, Mississauga and London, our trained professionals can help you get back on track.