When a person is less than fleet footed, they may have heard jokingly that they were flat footed. Usually that wasn’t the problem; it was more a lack of fast twitch muscles.
The condition of having flatfoot is an actual foot problem where the arches on the inside of the foot are flattened. This allows the entire sole of the foot to touch the floor when you stand up.
Flatfoot can cause pain. At Foot & Ankle Clinics of Utah, we can help you if you have this common foot problem.
What is flatfoot?
If you were to walk in some paint and then take a step, the footprint for a normal foot will have an indentation where the arch elevates the midsole of the foot. But some people create an entire footprint, where the whole foot reaches the ground. Their footprint wouldn’t have any area where it didn’t touch.
This is flatfoot. Flatfoot is a common and usually painless condition. But sometimes it can contribute to problems in your ankles and knees because the condition can alter the alignment of your legs.
Symptoms of flatfoot
Flatfoot is sometimes also known as fallen or collapsed arches. It’s a relatively common condition that affects up to one third of the population. It only causes symptoms such as pain in one out of 10 people with flatfoot. It usually affects both feet.
Most people don’t have any symptoms or signs, other than those telltale footprints. But for some, the lack of arch support causes pain, usually in the heel or the arch area. Activity exacerbates this, and swelling can occur on the inside of the ankle.
What causes flatfoot?
Infants and toddlers all have flat feet because the arches in their feet have not yet developed. As they advance through childhood, most people develop arches, but some do not.
Aches can also fall over time. Years of wear and tear can weaken the tendon that runs along the inside of your ankle and helps support your arch.
There are certain risk factors for developing flatfoot later in life: obesity, injury to the foot or ankle, rheumatoid arthritis, aging, and diabetes.
Treating painful flatfoot
When a patient’s flatfoot is causing pain, our approach at Foot & Ankle Clinics of Utah is typically to provide custom-designed orthotics. These arch supports are molded to the contours of the patient’s feet. They don’t cure the problem but alleviate the pain. In overuse injuries, such as with distance runners, physical therapy can be used to improve form and technique. There are other lifestyle changes, such as more supportive footwear, that we will discuss with you.
If you have chronic foot pain, we need to hear from you. Give us a call at any of our five locations in American Fork (801), 763-3885; Payson, (801) 765-1718; Springville (801) 491-3668; and Orem (two locations), (801) 226-2421 or (801) 765-1718.