A normal, healthy foot has an arch in it that helps distribute weight between your heel and the ball of your foot. If your feet are flat, though, the entire sole of your foot spreads on the floor when you stand. Flat feet throw off alignment in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.
At FootCare Specialists, Inc., in San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, California, our expert podiatrist, David J. Kaplan, DPM, provides solutions to flat feet, including customized orthotics, that restore balance and alignment. Do you have flat feet? If so, here’s what you should know.
Each foot contains 33 joints, 26 bones, and more than 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The arch of your foot is the curved area between your heel and the ball of your foot. Your arch distributes your body weight and puts a flexible spring in your step when you walk.
If your feet are flat, either you were born without arches, or your arches flattened gradually because of weak or damaged tendons. Common reasons for flat feet include:
Flat feet can throw your entire body out of alignment. Misalignment leads to stress and pain, especially in your hips, lower limbs, ankles, and feet. Without treatment, these symptoms may worsen and cause additional problems, such as bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and arthritis.
Up to 30% of Americans have fallen arches. In most cases, fallen arches affect both feet. However, it’s possible to have only one flat foot.
At FootCare Specialists, Inc., Dr. Kaplan evaluates and diagnoses flat feet during a routine office visit. If you have flat feet, he then develops a personalized treatment plan. Depending on the extent of your condition, he might recommend a variety of therapies:
Unlike generic, over-the-counter devices, customized orthotics are designed to fit the unique contours of your feet to provide better support and more effective results.
Supportive shoes improve the alignment of your body, provide additional arch support, and provide better cushioning for your feet. Dr. Kaplan makes personalized recommendations for the best footwear based on the support you need.
Dr. Kaplan may prescribe special exercises that focus on raising, lengthening, and strengthening your arches. A few helpful exercises for fallen arches include heel stretches, arch lifts, and calf raises.
When your flat feet are due to an injury or to poor form during sports play or another repetitive activity, Dr. Kaplan might suggest physical therapy. Physical therapy focuses on restoring proper movement, alignment, and balance in your body.
In rare cases, he may recommend surgery for flat feet. Indications for surgery include a tendon tear or a bone deformity.
Give your flat feet the support they need with customized orthotics and other treatments. Call us today at either our San Mateo or Half Moon Bay locations. Or, request an appointment using our convenient online form.