Flat Feet: Types and Treatment

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If the bottom of your foot touches, or nearly touches the floor when you are standing, you probably have flat feet. It is a common condition and it is estimated that as many as 60 million Americans have the disorder. Chronic flat feet can cause or contribute to lower back pain, knee joint problems, shin splints and many other issues. Flat feet can either be congenital or acquired in some other manner.

The two main types of flat feet are “congenital” and “acquired”:

Congenital Flat Feet

While there are a few types of flat feet in the congenital category, the most common of these is referred to as “flexible flat feet," which means that you have an arch, but when you put weight on it, the arch flattens. A less common condition in the congenital category is characterized by having no arch at all, whether or not weight bearing is involved.

Acquired Flat Feet

As we age, the large tendon on the arch of the foot undergoes continuous pressure, and eventually it simply can’t stay up anymore and fails to function properly. As it lowers, considerable pain is caused through the whole of the foot and ankle. Acquired flat feet may also arise a result of tendon and ligament problems including plantar fasciitis.

Treatment for Flat Feet

There are several treatment options available for flat feet, including rest and ice, stretching exercises, physical therapy and taking ibuprofen or other Nsaids for pain. Custom orthotic inserts may be recommended. If your flat feet aren’t causing you any pain or other problems, then you may not require any treatment at the moment.

You may experiment with over the counter shoe inserts, but keep in mind that it is very important to see a foot doctor to find out exactly what type of flat feet you have, since without the correct diagnosis and treatment, the problem will continue to worsen. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX, is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions, to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.