Facts about Flat Feet

Much of Houston is as flat as a pancake, which can sometimes be true of feet as well!

Usually, arches develop in childhood, but for some, an inherited trait causes the arch to never form. Flat feet can also be acquired as an adult, resulting from an injury, or simply from wear and tear associated with age that weakens the arches’ supporting muscles and causes them to collapse. Is either case cause for concern? The answer is, not necessarily.

Why Do We Have Arches? Arch Types

The arch in your foot is there to help absorb shock and distribute forces evenly across its bottom. If it falls or does not form, then it is unable to fulfill these responsibilities, and excessive pressure and uneven stresses are placed upon the foot. This can cause biomechanical problems like overpronation, misalignment of joints, deformities like bunions, strained tendons, ligaments, and muscles, foot cramps, and pain…or, surprisingly, it can cause no problems at all.

Flat Yet Problem-Free

Some people who have no arches can go through life without a hitch, still doing all the activities they enjoy with absolutely no pain or care in the world. If it’s not broke, why fix it, right? Meaning, in such a case, no treatment is necessary.

Flat and no Fun

Unfortunately, though, others find their lack of arches cause problems and painful symptoms that interfere with normal activities. If this is the case, flat feet need a little help, but luckily there are plenty of treatment options that can ease discomfort and get you back to doing the things you love.

Fixing a Flat

In most cases, the issues that arise due to flat feet can be addressed with simple conservative measures such as proper footwear, orthotics, and physical therapy. Shoes should offer plenty of support and cushion. Slipping a pair of custom orthotics inside can add even more! These devices are designed to fit the unique contours of your feet, addressing your individual needs and re-distributing weight to correct uneven pressure. Stretching and strengthening exercises can also help to relieve painful symptoms. Try gently pulling your toes toward you or standing on a step and dipping your heels down over the edge, then raising up on your toes. Wall pushes are a great option, too. With hands on the wall, extend a leg behind you and press your heel to the floor, then switch. You can also try picking up a towel off the floor using only your toes – bonus: you’ll be cleaning up your room while also strengthening your arch!

Though rare, there are times when these methods are just not enough and a surgical procedure may be necessary to allow for pain-free living. Rest assured that no matter what treatment you need, the experts at Houston Foot Specialists are here for you.

If you have flat feet but have no problems, great! However, if your flat feet are causing you pain and getting in the way of your active life, call our Houston, TX office for an appointment at (713) 493-7372, or use our online contact form. We will help you determine the best course of treatment and get you back to enjoying pain-free days.