Flat Feet Facts
Have you ever been “caught flat-footed?” This funny phrase means being taken by surprise or being unprepared. In the medical world, however, it simply means that you have a foot structure in which the arch is not fully formed. Most people with flat feet don’t experience any problems with normal movement or activity.
How Can I Tell if My Feet Are Flat?
The simplest tool is the wet foot test. Look at the pattern left behind on concrete or a piece of dark paper when you step on it with wet feet. Does it have a complete oval shape? If so, you likely have flat feet. If you had arch development, the wet blotch would show the heel and the ball of the foot connected by a strip where the outside of your foot rested. Since this condition is often associated with overpronation (ankles rolling toward the inside), you may also notice that the inner edges of your shoe soles are more worn down than the outer edges.
Why Are My Feet Flat?
Most of us were born without defined arches in our feet. They formed gradually as we began to stand on our toes and, and continued developing as we grew. It is normal for some people to never develop an arch due to heredity or the way their tendons develop. Other factors may lead to fallen arches later in life, such as stretching or tearing the tendons in your feet, especially the posterior tibial tendon that links your calf to the middle of your arch. Injuries and broken bones, nerve damage, and diseases like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can also weaken your foot structure. Obesity, the extra weight of pregnancy, and normal aging processes may affect your arches as well.
Are Treatments Available?
If your foot structure is hereditary and isn’t giving you problems, no treatment is needed. Some people may notice pain, achiness, tired or swollen feet, and difficulty moving up onto their toes. That’s when a consultation at The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic in Sammamish is in order. We use your history, a thorough evaluation of your feet, and needed tests to diagnose whether your symptoms are a result of flat feet.
If treatment is needed, we may recommend icing the painful area, using certain pain relievers, exercises to strengthen your foot muscles, or custom orthotics to adjust the way your weight is distributed. You can help by losing weight if needed and avoiding activities that put a lot of extra stress on your feet. Only in severe cases is surgery necessary to correct conditions like torn tendons or bone spurs.
Don’t be caught flat-footed! At the first sign of problems with your flat feet, call our office at (425) 868-3338. For great foot care in the Sammamish, Bellevue, Redmond, and Issaquah area, contact The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic. You may also schedule an appointment on our website. Our goal is to help you enjoy your normal activities without pain!