Did you know that between 20-30% of the general population have flat feet? Though common, this condition can alter the alignment of your legs, causing back and foot pain. Our experts James Cottom, DPM, FACFAS, and Joseph R. Wolf, DPM, AACFAS, and the team at Florida Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center offer innovative treatments for flat feet in a warm and welcoming environment. Call the office or request an appointment online today.

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What are flat feet?

Flat feet, also known as fallen arches, is a postural deformity causing the bottom of your foot to make complete or near-complete contact with the ground. Flat feet affect millions of people worldwide, and they generally don’t cause problems. However, more severe cases of flat feet can contribute to joint pain and stiffness, especially in your ankles or knees.

What causes flat feet?

Everyone is born with flat feet. As you get older, your arches develop to help support the weight of your body. Researchers aren’t entirely sure why, but some people never develop arches. This is perfectly normal, but for some people, it causes pain and other foot problems.

Your arches can also fall over time. If you run or participate in a physically active lifestyle, the tendon that supports your arch can wear down and deteriorate due to overuse.

What are the symptoms of flat feet?

Flat feet affect everyone differently. Some people don’t experience any symptoms, while others suffer from foot pain in their arches and heels. Pain caused by flat feet also tends to get worse after exercise or other physical activity.

Who is at risk of flat feet?

Anyone can develop flat feet, but certain factors can increase your risk, including:

  • Being middle-aged
  • Being overweight
  • Having diabetes
  • Having rheumatoid arthritis

You might also develop flat feet if you suffer a foot or ankle injury.

How are flat feet diagnosed and treated?

To diagnose flat feet, your physician performs a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and asks about your symptoms. Your doctor also observes your feet from the front and back and will ask you to walk around the exam room on your tiptoes. Typically these tests are enough for a diagnosis, but your provider might also order X-rays or a CT scan.

Treatment for flat feet depends on the severity of your symptoms. Oftentimes, rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are enough to provide relief. However, mild or moderate flat feet may benefit from physical therapy, stretching exercises, or custom orthotics. If your symptoms are the result of a tendon tear or rupture, your provider might recommend surgical intervention.

If you have flat feet that cause you pain, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Call Florida Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center or request an appointment online today.