The term “flat feet” describes a fairly straightforward condition: not having a raised arch in the center of your foot. This foot structure causes the entire bottom of your foot to press against the ground when you walk, not just the pads on the ball, heel, and outside of your foot.
Everyone is born with flat feet, but arches usually form around six years of age. However, approximately 2 in 10 children never develop arches. It’s also possible for a person’s arches to collapse because of an injury or in adulthood, commonly referred to as “fallen arches.”
As an experienced podiatrist and foot surgeon, John Jurcisin, DPM, of Precision Footcare in the Midtown East neighborhood of New York City, knows that flat feet can affect not just your feet but your entire body. In this blog, Dr. Jurcisin explains the problems flat feet can cause and how the condition can be treated.
Why flat feet cause problems
Your arch is what puts a spring in your step and distributes your body weight. That also means its load-bearing capabilities change significantly when an arch becomes too high — or doesn’t exist at all.
Without proper arch support, you can end up with added strain on muscles, ligaments, and joints anywhere in your lower body from your feet to your back, including:
- Arches and ankles
- Calves, knees, and hips
- Lower legs and back
Flat feet can also impact how you walk or run, putting even more pressure on these areas of your body.
The three most common problems caused by flat feet
Dr. Jurcisin sees three common issues because of flat feet, including:
- Muscle cramping and fatigue in the feet and legs
- Aches and pains in the feet and lower body, including arthritis and shin splints
- Other foot problems, like corns, hammertoes, bunions, plantar fasciitis, and bone spurs
These issues can vary from mild to severe and often worsen in people who are overweight or obese, which also puts added stress on the arches of the feet.
It’s also important to pay attention to when your flat feet form, because some serious health conditions can increase your chances of developing this foot problem, including diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Finding relief for flat feet
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with flat feet. And, in most cases, Dr. Jurcisin can treat flat feet with conservative methods, such as:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Supportive bracing and taping
- Custom-made orthotics
- Physical therapy
However, if you have deformities, tendon damage, or alignment issues, Dr. Jurcisin might recommend surgical treatment to correct these problems and stabilize the bones in your feet.
Do you have flat feet? Dr. Jurcisin can help relieve your symptoms and restore your foot structure. To learn more, call 212-750-8344 or book an appointment online with Precision Footcare today.