There are few things as cute as babies’ feet. Those tiny toes and pudgy soles just make you want to smile. This is normal in infants and that pudginess gradually disappears. As they begin to stand, they often go on tiptoe, and the arch structure begins to be visible. Usually it is fully formed by school age, although in some, flat feet may remain throughout their lives. This is all normal and not a cause for concern. It is possible for the arch to collapse later in life, however, and many times this is associated with pain and limitation.
Bones in Arches Falling Down
There are many reasons why your arch structure may begin deteriorating. A disease like rheumatoid arthritis causes degeneration of the cartilage in the joints and may weaken the structure. The circulation and nerve problems often associated with diabetes can also mean that the tendons and bones are damaged and cannot function as well as they used to. Aging, obesity, and strenuous activity cause wear and tear on these tissues as well. A traumatic injury could crush or fracture the bone structure, too. Even an inherited condition that alters your gait or the way you put pressure on your feet can have an effect on your arches and as a result, make you develop flat feet.
When Are Flat Feet a Problem?
If you can move normally and your feet aren’t painful, a flat arch doesn’t need treatment. Only when they begin to hurt, or keep you from your usual activities, do you need to address the problem. When that happens, the sooner you act, the better. If you catch the condition early, there are conservative treatments that can prevent more deterioration and relieve pain. Even more advanced cases have responded to non-invasive remedies.
Home Treatments for Flat Foot Pain
Two of the things we recommend are rest and weight control. If certain activities cause pain in your feet, rest from them and give your tendons and muscles a chance to heal. If you are overweight, every stress on your arch is multiplied by the extra pounds. Sometimes just switching from consuming empty calories to making well-balanced, healthy food choices can have you shedding a few pounds. Aren’t pain-free feet worth it?
You can also try home remedies, such as icing to reduce the pain, stretching and strengthening the muscles or tendons, or choosing sturdy shoes that provide the proper arch support for your feet. Your physician can recommend the best medication to try for occasional, severe pain.
When Home Remedies Don’t Work
If the pain continues, you need to get help from medical professionals. At Waukesha Foot Specialists, we have found that many of our patients’ flat foot problems have resolved when we fit them with custom orthotics to give proper support to their arches. These shoe inserts help redistribute your weight, relieve pressure on the foot structure, and promote a normal gait. Surgery is not needed for flat feet unless there are ruptured tendons or bone fractures that need to be repaired.
Let Dr. David Guhl and Dr. Amy Miller-Guhl help you find relief from your pain. You can call Waukesha Foot Specialists at (262) 544-0700, or click on the appointment request button on our website. Don’t let foot pain keep you sidelined—call us today!