There are a variety of treatment options to help correct flat feet in adults. With this medical condition, the arches of your feet have fallen or collapsed. As a result, there is no visible arch when you stand and put weight on your feet, and the underside of your foot makes partial or complete contact with the ground. At Shenandoah Podiatry, Dr. Natalie Allen and Dr. Jennifer Keller understand flat feet and can give you the help you need.
Why Correcting Flat Feet Is Important
For some adults, having flat feet may not be much of an issue or be problematic. Others may believe that the pain they feel is “normal” as they age. However, flat feet can affect mobility and lead to more serious issues. So, it’s important to get this condition diagnosed and treated.
Causes of Flat Feet in Adults
Some children with flat feet grow out of it naturally as they get older. However, it’s still worthwhile to visit with a pediatric podiatrist for a full assessment. Unlike children, though, adults do not “grow out” of flat feet. To correct flat feet, they need to have proper treatment. Adult flat feet may be caused by:
- Trauma or injury
- Muscular or nervous system disease
- Excessive weight or obesity
- Weak arches
- Other foot and ankle conditions
Flat Feet Symptoms and Problems
Adults with flat feet can experience a range of symptoms and issues, including:
- Muscle pain in the feet and ankles
- Pain in the lower legs and knees
- Pain while walking or moving
- Muscle stiffness
- Stress fractures
- Hammer toes
- Mobility issues
- Back problems
- Chronic discomfort
- Reduced athletic performance
Left untreated, flat feet symptoms often worsen over time. People with diabetes are especially vulnerable to developing flat feet.
Effective Flat Feet Treatment Options in Virginia
Treating and correcting flat feet in adults depends on the type you have. With flexible flat feet (FFF), you have no arch when you put weight on your feet, but the foot arch appears when lying down. The foot itself is still flexible, and this condition is easier to treat. By contrast, rigid flat feet (RFF) is harder to treat. The foot lacks an arch whether you’re lying down or standing up. The foot has a restricted range of motion and is quite stiff. Treatments can alleviate symptoms, but conservative measures may not be enough to correct RFF.
Medication can be an effective way to treat the symptoms of flat feet. It can alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed. With reduced swelling, the foot may be able to take on a healthier form. Your podiatrist may have you accompany medication with ice and rest to provide added relief.
Lifestyle changes can make a world of difference, too. The wrong shoe choice can worsen symptoms—for example, flip flops and flats do not offer the foot the support needed to function properly. The best shoes for flat feet are those that offer great support and stability. More specifically, they have great arch support, absorb shock, and reduce pressure on the feet. The podiatrists at Shenandoah Podiatry understand that no two feet are alike. We can recommend footwear suited to your specific needs.
Overpronation is one of the most common signs of flat feet. This can increase the risk of injury as the arches of your feet flatten out too much. Custom orthotics can help your feet to distribute your weight better. They direct your feet into a healthier position with their added arch support. This influences your foot’s biomechanics and improves your overall stability.
Physical therapy isn’t only for athletes who suffer sports injuries. With a variety of stretches and other exercises, physical therapy can improve the flexibility and mobility of the muscles in your feet. It can strengthen the tendons, so your feet can take on a healthier form. It’s vital to strengthen the muscles along your foot arches, and stretching your calf muscles helps to reduce pain, too.
Most often, the podiatrists at Shenandoah Podiatry view surgery as a last resort. We’d much rather offer more conservative measures before taking an invasive step. That said, surgery is an option to consider for more severe cases of flat feet. Procedures may include tendon transfers, joint fusions, Achilles lengthening, ligament repair, or osteotomies.
In cases where surgery is required, it is often very effective in treating flat feet. One of our patients, Richard Gwin, had a very positive experience with our office. After a successful surgery, he no longer had to take pain medication or wrap his foot the way he had before.
The First Step Toward Better Health
If you are suffering from flat feet, give our Virginia podiatry office a call, and we can schedule an initial consultation to assess your case. Based on the results of the exam, we can recommend a treatment plan that works best for you. We pride ourselves on offering excellent care and advanced treatment options. Let’s get you back on your feet in comfort and confidence.