Flatfoot Pain: The Trouble with Low Arches
Your foot has an incredible design. All of the parts fit together in such a way as to be flexible and moveable while still being very strong. One of the important parts of the foot is your arch. Located in the middle of your foot, it is slightly raised off the ground and helps you absorb the impact of every step. Sometimes, however, it can ache and make walking or standing around very uncomfortable.
Curves Are Important
You arch is the curved, raised area made up of your tarsal and metatarsal bones. It helps distribute some of your body weight off of your heel. It is shaped slightly different for everyone—some have lower or “flatter” arches than others. This doesn’t always cause pain, but when it does, it can make walking and standing unpleasant and difficult. Generally the muscles and other tissues along the arch and even in the heel ache. The inside of the foot and ankle can also swell uncomfortably. Sometimes arches “fall” inward from an injury or weakness, flattening out an otherwise normal foot.
Flatfoot can have many different causes. It could be a weakness or a structural abnormality you’ve had since birth. It could also mean that tendonitis, damage to the connective tissues, arthritis, or nerve problems have affected the structures in your feet. Even wearing unsupportive footwear can lead to weakness and arch pain. Whatever the cause, many conservative, noninvasive treatments exist to help relieve and eliminate your discomfort.
It is not normal for your feet to be in pain, so you do not have to accept it as such. At Dallas Podiatry Works, Drs. Joel W. Brook and David R. Northcutt examine your feet for the specific source of your discomfort. They may check how your arches are situated while you stand or walk, or even look at the wear patterns in your shoes. They made need other diagnostic tests as well to determine if there has been an injury to any of your foot structures. Once the cause has been determined, they are able to work with you to develop a plan for treatment that fits your needs and lifestyle.
What remedies work best depends on the source of your pain. Stretches help tightened, overused muscles to relax, and exercises help weakened ones to regain the strength they need to hold your foot in its proper place. Prescription orthotics add extra support and help your arch more efficiently distribute weight. Changing your shoes to ones that better cushion and brace your foot also help. Generally flatfoot pain doesn’t require surgery, unless the problem was caused by a torn tendon. You may then need a procedure to repair the damaged tissue and realign your arch.
If you are experiencing arch pain, your foot looks flatter, or you notice that your shoes are more worn along the inner edge, don’t ignore it. Generally these problems get worse over time, not better, and they are much easier to remedy if caught early. Discomfort in your feet doesn’t have to limit your life—it can be treated using conservative measures. Contact Dallas Podiatry Works for an appointment or more information, and take your first steps toward walking pain-free. Visit the online contact page, or call either our Dallas location at (972) 566-7474 or the Plano office (972) 943-3323 to reach us.