Are fallen arches a real foot problem, or just a label for chronically sore feet?

Foot and ankle surgeon Frank Oware, DPM, says fallen arches — or flat feet— are a legitimate medical condition affecting five percent of Americans.

“Flat feet can be present at birth or develop over decades of walking, running and overall time spent on the feet, especially on hard surfaces in the workplace,” says Dr. Oware.

There are several types of flatfoot conditions that occur in adults. The most common type is adult-acquired flatfoot. It is caused by over-stretching a tendon that supports the arch. Another common type is flexible flatfoot, in which the foot is flat when standing, but returns to a normal arch in non-weight- bearing positions.

“Flat feet can be very painful and make people avoid walking, running, and exercise,” says Dr. Oware. “But if you seek medical attention early, a foot and ankle surgeon may be able to prevent it from becoming a more serious foot problem.”

Dr. Oware says treatments may include modified activity, stretching exercises, custom molded orthotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. If those techniques don’t work, he says a variety of surgical procedures may be considered to relieve pain and improve foot function.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may show some key symptoms of having flat feet:

  • Do you feel discomfort or pain in your feet and inside of your ankles?
  • Do you feel uncomfortable walking or standing, especially for long periods of time?
  • Does your foot turn outward at your ankle?
  • Is your posture strained, especially in your hips and lower back?

If you answered yes to all of these questions or are suffering from any other painful conditions, contact our office to schedule an appointment.

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