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Those who have a very low foot arch or no arch at all have a condition referred to as flat feet. Most children are born with flat feet and will gradually develop arches in their feet over time. However, if the arch does not develop, it’s likely for one to experience foot pain as they grow older. Those with flat feet tend to walk with an overpronation, often causing the feet to point outward. Since the feet carry the weight of the body, it can put an immense amount of pressure on those with little to no arch because that extra support is absent. The weight of the body is often unevenly distributed as well.
People with flat feet may feel foot pain due to a straining of their muscles and connecting ligaments. It’s also common for people with flat feet to roll their feet as they walk, which may in turn cause discomfort for the ankle. Swelling of the calf, lower legs, knees, and lower back may form as a result of flat feet, along with the feeling of stiffness in the feet as well. Some of the most common reasons for the development of flat feet include genetic factors, a foot or ankle injury, arthritis, and damage to the nervous system. Specific exercises and foot stretches may help alleviate the discomfort that flat feet can often cause.
Once flat foot has been diagnosed, your podiatrist may suggest one of several treatment options. Flat feet can be rigid, in which the feet appear to have no arch even when the person is not standing; or flexible, in which the person appears to have an arch while not standing, but once standing the arch disappears. Those with flexible flat feet may be told to reduce any activities that cause pain and to avoid extended periods of walking or standing. Another suggestion may be weight loss, as excessive weight may be placing pressure on the arches.
If you would like more information about caring for flat feet, we suggest that you speak with a podiatrist who can offer you professional recommendations and an advised treatment plan.
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