Most people have an arch on the bottom of each foot, which helps provide support when walking. However, some people have flat feet where no arches exist.
Flat feet may not seem like a big deal, but they can cause problems without treatment. Arthritis and bunions are the only issues you can encounter when you have flat feet.
No need to worry, though; Dr. David Deiboldt and the Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center team provide customized treatments for flat feet. Dr. Deiboldt is a podiatry specialist who offers nonsurgical and surgical treatments for various foot conditions.
The facts on flat feet
Every person is born with flat feet. You have flat feet until you're about six when arches form. However, some kids don't form arches, resulting in flat feet into adulthood.
Flat feet can also develop as an adult after a traumatic injury. You can similarly suffer with flat feet from years of wear and tear on your feet, causing the arches to fall.
You may not have any symptoms if you live with flat feet. However, if you do develop symptoms, they may include any of the following:
- Muscle pain
- Leg cramps
- Pain with walking
- Arch pain
- Toe drift
Back, hip, and knee pain can also occur when you have flat feet due to the uneven weight distribution among your feet. Difficulty walking and running are other common symptoms of flat feet.
Problems that arise with flat feet
Flat feet sometimes don't cause any issues, and you can go about your normal activities. However, untreated flat feet that cause pain with walking or after standing for long periods increase your risk of several complications, including:
- Shin splints
- Bone spurs
- Corns and calluses
- Low back pain
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
As you can see, flat feet don't just affect your foot health; the problems spread to other areas of your body and can lead to painful arthritis in your feet, knees, and hips.
The only way to ensure you don't end up with the complications of flat feet is to seek treatment as soon as symptoms arise.
When to see a doctor
Flat feet don't always cause issues, but when they do, complications can occur. You must get treatment if you're experiencing symptoms related to flat feet.
You should seek treatment immediately if you have flat feet and any of the following occur:
- Sudden fallen arches
- Balance problems
- Trouble walking
- Pain with walking
- Stiff feet
At your appointment, we evaluate your symptoms and the severity of your flat feet. Your symptoms, imaging studies, and foot structure allow us to determine the best treatment option for your needs.
How are flat feet treated?
If you're having symptoms of fallen arches, several treatments can help. Dr. Deiboldt evaluates your symptoms to determine the best treatment for your needs. A few of the nonsurgical treatments for flat feet include the following:
Foot support is the initial step in treating flat feet. Custom or over-the-counter orthotics help take the pressure off of flat feet and provide the support and comfort you need to get through your day without pain.
Medications provide short-term relief for pain and inflammation associated with flat feet. Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines to ease discomfort and other symptoms.
Physical therapy allows you to stretch tight muscles and tendons in your feet, providing better mobility and flexibility to reduce symptoms.
These treatments help you alleviate flat feet symptoms to ward off complications affecting your feet and body.
Call Dr. Deiboldt at our Beltsville, Maryland office today at 301-804-1174 to make an appointment for flat feet treatment or book a consultation online.