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Flat Feet: Symptoms and Treatment
- Dr. Ahmadi
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Flat feet, also known as “fallen arches,” is a medical condition in which the sole of the foot comes into very close or complete contact with the ground. This condition can be found in either one foot or both. There are various degrees of the severity, tendon functionality, and shape of flat feet. Each one is manageable in different ways.
Do I have flat feet?
There is actually a simple test that can be done at home to determine if you have flat feet. Start by getting your foot wet. Next, stand on a smooth, flat surface which will definitively show a footprint – a concrete walkway or sidewalk would be perfect, or even just your bathroom tile. Finally, evaluate the footprint left behind. If there is a complete imprint of the bottom of the foot, you most likely have flat feet.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can develop flat feet. It is a condition that is actually quite common. Many children have flat feet in their early years, but will develop proper arches as they grow older. Some individuals may develop flat feet after sustaining an injury or through simple wear and tear as the body ages. People who are at a greater risk of developing flat feet over time include the obese, the elderly, diabetics, and pregnant women.
Luckily, flat feet are usually painless. However, continually walking around on flat feet could alter the alignment of the legs, which could cause problems in the ankles and knees.
What treatments are available?
Usually no treatment is necessary for individuals with flat feet, since it often causes little to no pain. However, to prevent future problems in the ankles, knees, and legs, it might be beneficial to put arch supports in your shoes. This will help properly align the legs as you walk and stand, giving you the needed support the tendons in your feet aren’t providing. Exercising through walking can help work your feet out and reduce side effects and symptoms over time.
If your condition is so severe that your flat feet are completely archless and rigid, then you may benefit from surgery that will help your tendons form an arch. Although this type of surgery requires a recovery time, it can be very effective.