Flat feet, sometimes referred to as flat foot or flatfoot, can cause pain that may make running or even walking difficult. Fortunately for patients in the Cincinnati area, the foot specialists at Beacon Orthopaedics offer effective treatment to alleviate symptoms of flat feet.
What are Flat Feet?
Flat feet, or flatfoot, as the name implies, are feet that appear flat or have little to no arch. Babies are born with flat feet and the arches develop during childhood. In some cases, the arches never properly develop. In other cases, adults have arches that collapse, a condition known as fallen arches.1
Symptoms of Flat Feet
Not every person with flat feet experiences any symptoms other than soles of the feet that touch the ground. Some people, however, do experience symptoms of flatfoot, including:
- Pain in the heel, arch, or ankle
- Muscle pain
- Leg cramps
- Pain that worsens with activity
- Ankles that roll inward
- Unusual walk or gait
- Shin splints
- Plantar Fasciitis
What Causes Flat Feet?
Infants and toddlers normally have flat feet, because the arches of their feet have not yet developed. Flat foot may be caused by arches that do not properly develop, or it may unexpectedly occur in adults. This condition is known as adult-acquired flat foot or fallen arch. The following factors may increase the risk of flatfoot:
- Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction
- Injuries to the Achilles tendon
- Broken bones
- High blood pressure
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral palsy
- Rheumatoid arthritis2
Treatment for Flat Feet
Non-Surgical Treatment for Flat Feet
In most cases, non-invasive treatments for flat foot are helpful in alleviating patients’ symptoms. Non-surgical treatment for flat feet may include:
- Physical therapy
- Activity modification
- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Flat Feet Surgery
Most frequently, surgery is performed on patients with flat feet to address an associated problem or injury, such as a torn or ruptured tendon. Surgery for flat feet may consist of replacing a damaged tendon, realigning bones to create a more robust arch, or fusing joints together to increase stability at the back of the foot.3
Frequently Asked Questions About Flat Feet
What are the different types of flat feet?
The types of flatfoot include:
- Flexible: This is the most common form of flat feet, where the arches are visible when the person is not standing but disappear when weight is put on the feet. This condition is present in childhood and often progresses with age.
- Rigid: In people with rigid flat feet, the arch is not visible when standing or sitting. This condition often develops in the teenage years and gets worse with age.
- Adult-acquired: Also known as fallen arch, this is when the arch of the foot drops or collapses unexpectedly.
Can I prevent flat feet?
Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to prevent flatfoot.
Contact Beacon Orthopaedics
If you have flat feet, the foot specialists at Beacon Orthopaedics can help you get relief from your symptoms. Contact us to schedule a consultation with an experienced orthopedic surgeon in Cincinnati.
1 Mayo Clinic. Flatfeet. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flatfeet/symptoms-causes/syc-20372604#:~:text=You%20have%20flatfeet%20when%20the,don’t%20develop%20during%20childhood. Accessed May 11, 2022.
2 Cleveland Clinic. Flat Feet. Available: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17005-flat-feet. Accessed May 11, 2022.
3 Mayo Clinic News Network. Fallen Arches. Available: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/fallen-arches/. Accessed May 11, 2022.