Flatfoot is a condition when the arch of the foot has not developed properly. Instead of the normal arch under the soles of the foot, they are completely flat. It can be present in one foot or both feet and can occur in children or adults. In children, flat feet occur when the foot arch does not develop normally. Adults can become flatfooted from an injury, illness, or if too much weight or strain is put on the feet.
In most cases, having this condition does not lead to any health complications. However, for some patients, having flat feet can become painful and can also lead to other foot problems including foot deformities or the inability to wear regular shoes. Podiatrists can treat flatfoot by recommending comfortable shoes with ample support to the arch. Custom orthotics can be prescribed along with exercises to provide comfort and relieve pain. If you are concerned that you might have flat feet, call us at 561-793-6170 today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced podiatrists in West Palm Beach and 5 other locations across South Florida or click here to request an appointment online.
What is Flatfoot?
As you might imagine based on the name, this condition occurs when the arch at the bottom of the foot does not develop the curved shape between the ball of the foot and the heel. This can happen to children during the normal growth period between the ages of 3 and 5. Adult onset of flatfoot usually occurs due to injury or illness. In some cases sudden weight gain or an increase in strenuous activities can cause the arch to drop down and the bottom of the foot to flatten out. Flatfoot is the term used for this condition, even if both feet are affected, which is why you often see it referred to as “flat feet”. The Latin medical term for flatfoot or fallen arches is pes planus. Some common causes of adult onset of flatfoot are changes in work environment, injury, sudden weight gain, poorly fitted footwear, or excessive exercise.
Symptoms of Flatfoot
Most patients that have flatfoot do not exhibit any symptoms. However, some patients do experience pain, cramping, or discomfort. In more severe cases of flatfoot, the following symptoms might be present:
- Heel can tilt outward
- An awkward gait
- Problems wearing regular shoes
- Reduced energy for physical activities
Treatment for a Flatfoot
The treatment options for flatfoot are generally non-invasive in nature and usually include recommendations for comfortable and roomy shoes. In some cases padding or custom orthotics are prescribed. More severe cases requiring surgery are less common. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort from flatfoot, the podiatrists at South Florida Foot and Ankle Centers can formulate a treatment plan for you.
Diagnosing a Flatfoot
What should you expect when visiting the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers for flatfoot? There can be a bit of apprehension when visiting a podiatrist in order to find out what is causing your foot pain or discomfort. The South Florida Foot and Ankle Centers doctors’ first priority is to address your area of concern and make you feel comfortable. All of our doctors have specialized training and have a great deal of clinical experience so they are able to give you all of the information that you need to help you make an informed decision, understand the options, and be a part of the treatment plan. Diagnosing a condition like this one is really a matter of examining the foot profile to see if an arch is present. If an arch is not present, then the conversation turns to treatment options where the podiatrist will evaluate what treatment is best for each individual.
YOUR NEXT STEPS
The treatments for flatfoot are usually non-invasive, easy changes that can make a difference in providing comfort to patients. In most cases, a change in shoes or addition of padding or orthotics can allow someone with flatfoot to instantly return to their normal physical activities. Don’t live with foot pain or ankle pain another day! Our podiatrists in South Florida and West Palm Beach are very experienced in diagnosing and treating flat feet. We accept all major insurance providers. Call 561-793-6170 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment time online.