Some children never develop arches in their feet, and if you were to look at the footprint of someone with flat feet, it would be a solid print without the familiar indentations on the inner sides of the feet that represent the lift of the arches.
Though many suffer no ill effects from having flat feet, others aren’t so lucky. Flat feet can become painful and even lead to ankle instability and foot deformities. The condition can also affect your gait — the way you walk — and if that becomes impaired or awkward, moving becomes a bona fide hassle.
Michael V. Tran, DPM, and the AllCare Foot & Ankle Center team in Arlington and Dallas, Texas, competently and compassionately treat patients for whom flat feet have become a problem. Dr. Tran has a special interest in treating flat feet, and creates a treatment plan for you, and you alone, that’s geared toward eliminating discomfort and getting you back to 100% mobility ASAP.
The purpose of your arch
Your feet are well-designed tools that take you where you need to go, enable you to work and play, and carry you throughout a lifetime. The purpose of your arch is to allow your feet to support the weight of your body in a balanced, yet flexible way, and to drive you forward as you walk or run. Your arches are a mixture of muscle, ligaments, tendons, and bones.
Talking about “the arch” is a bit imprecise too, because your foot is actually equipped with three arches:
- The medial arch
- The lateral arch
- The anterior transverse arch
The medial and lateral arches go up and down the length of your foot, while the anterior transverse arch runs across your foot. When they work in concert, you can do everything from walking to jumping and sprinting, and they serve as shock absorbers too.
Why wouldn’t someone have arches? You may never have developed arches in childhood, or your feet may have become flat over time, as a result of traumatic injury or from living with certain chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis. Your arches can fall if you’re obese, as well as during pregnancy.
Whatever the cause of your flat feet, problems ranging from pain to deformities can occur, including:
- Pain in your arch or heel area
- Back pain
- Leg pain
- Swelling on the inner bottom portions of your feet
- Numbness in your feet or ankles
- Foot fatigue
- Shin splints
In addition to these potential problems, flat feet can also cause overpronation, which is when your ankle rolls too far inward and downward when you walk or run. This rolling continues when your toes ought to be starting to propel you forward, but instead just your big toes and second toes end up doing all the work.
When parts of your body start picking up the slack that exists from having no arches, your gait and weight distribution are affected and your mobility is compromised. This can have a very real and negative effect on your quality of life. It may even lead to a less active life, which can put you at risk for everything from diabetes to heart disease.
The problems caused by flat feet are diverse, but treatments exist that can provide relief from your pain, physical imbalance, and hesitance about being physically active.
There is help for dealing with flat feet
AllCare Foot & Ankle Center is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that enables Dr. Tran to really see what’s going on with — and in — your feet, including ultrasound and digital X-ray capabilities.
Dr. Tran offers multiple innovative treatments that can relieve flat feet-related issues, including assistive devices like custom orthotics and supportive footwear, which give you an arch temporarily and relieve pain.
Dr. Tran may also recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections, and regenerative medicine treatments, which harness your body’s natural healing abilities to address discomfort caused by flat feet.
He might also suggest a course of physical therapy, as there are effective exercises that can help equalize your weight distribution and remedy gait problems.
Sometimes Dr. Tran believes surgery is a practical solution if your injury is significant enough to warrant it. Whatever treatments make up your plan, Dr. Tran takes all the time you need to discuss options and answer your questions.
If you’re tired of dealing with pain, inflammation, and other symptoms related to flat feet, schedule a consultation with Dr Tran by calling our office most convenient to you or booking an appointment online today.