Foot Treatment for Flat Foot (Low Arches)
Uncomfortable foot problems such as flat foot, also referred to as low arches, can lead to decreased mobility, joint pain, problems with your balance, and an overall deterioration of your quality of life.
Left untreated, flat foot can progress into a debilitating condition that requires the ongoing medically-supervised foot treatment and management with painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and in some cases, foot surgery.
Here at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, New York, our team of Foot and Ankle Specialists use an interdisciplinary approach to treating flat foot and low arches by collaborating with experts in pain management, sports medicine, physiotherapy and rehabilitative services to provide individualized, goal-oriented foot treatment and care.
Signs and Symptoms of Low Arches
Many people who suffer from fallen or low arches report that their symptoms developed gradually, over a period of months or years. The severity of the discomfort, duration of the symptoms and related pain varies with each individual, and these symptoms may fluctuated depending on other factors such as activity level, type of footwear worn, and body mass index of the patient.
Common signs and symptoms of flat foot can include:
- Pain that radiates along the inside of one or both feet and ankles
- Swelling on the inside of the ankle
- Discomfort throughout the foot that is aggravated by activities such as walking, running, standing for long periods of time, or participating in sports
- People with diabetes may notice swelling throughout the foot, and the development of lumps on the bottom of one or both feet
- Feet that appear wider than normal, and toes that look like they have spread out
Some people report that the size of their feet has changed to the point where they have to purchase extra-wide shoes, while others find that their socks and stockings are tighter than normal.
What Causes Flat Foot/Low Arches
While some people have naturally flat feet as a result of their unique genetic makeup or anatomical structure, the most common cause of low arches is age-related wear and tear on the tendons in the feet that work to support the arch.
Over time, the posterior tibial tendon, the tendon which gives the arch of your foot it's distinctive curved shape, begins to weaken and stretch out, leading to fallen, low, or collapsed arches. Once this tendon has been stretched out, the affected foot can become flat, leading to misalignment of the joints in the foot, ankle, knee and hips.
Adult-Acquired Flat Foot
Many adults suffer from pain and inflammation along one or both sides of their ankles or instep as the result of a common condition known as adult-acquired flat foot. While both men and women are impacted, women aged 40 and older are the most likely to experience adult-acquired flat foot.
Depending on the cause and severity of your pain, foot treatments can include the application of ice to relieve swelling, use of anti-inflammatory medications, and wearing custom-designed orthopedic boots and/or braces to help stabilize the foot and provide support to the fallen arches. In some cases, patients may benefit from surgery to alleviate the stress on the damaged tendon.
For More Information
To learn more about flat foot and low arches and the various foot treatment and surgery options available here at Northern Westchester Hospital, contact our foot and ankle specialists for a consultation.