Have you ever trekked through a puddle in bare feet and made footprints on dry concrete? At first, when your feet are very wet, the prints are not very distinct—the water “bleeds” and your print may look more like a blob! As you take more steps, however, you can see a distinct picture of your foot structure. Footprints can be very telling about the shape and efficiency of your lower limbs. If yours seems very wide without much curve inward where the arch is supposed to be, you may actually have flat feet.
Flat feet exist when you have abnormally low arches. Your arch is vital for supporting and distributing your body weight evenly. When it’s too low, it’s less efficient and can sometimes add stress to other parts of the feet. Most babies and toddlers have flat arches, and the curves form as they grow and walk. However, they do not always form well enough, and you are left with flat feet. Sometimes these low arches don’t cause any trouble. You may not even be aware that anything is different about your lower limbs. For some people, however, the problem can cause aches and pains in the midfoot, heel, and inside of the ankle. The discomfort is especially apparent when you put a lot of force on the foot—particularly long periods of time spent standing, walking, or running.
Though not as common, it is possible for your arches to “fall” as well. This condition is called adult acquired flatfoot and is usually related to other problems in the lower limbs, like a connective tissue injury or nerve disorder. This needs careful medical monitoring to avoid complications. The additional stress placed on the joints and foot structures from the arches rolling inward can result in other painful problems.
Bracing It Up
If your arches are naturally low and causing discomfort, there are many different conservative remedies available to reduce the stress and relieve the pain. Dr. David Laurino, Dr. Antonius Su, and Dr. Darick Freestone will evaluate your lower limbs and determine if any complication or damage has arisen from arch strain. From there they can help you find the best path to restore your feet. By bracing the arch, you can relieve the pressure on the foot structures and more efficiently distribute your body weight. You may need to change your footwear to models that have extra arch support. Prescription orthotics can help stabilize your midfoot while cushioning the area as well. You might also consider lifestyle changes to help relieve the pressure on your lower limbs, especially if you are overweight. Healthy eating and exercise habits will benefit your foot strength and help your lower limbs over all.
Although some people never experience trouble with their flat feet, low arches can be uncomfortable and cause distress when you spend longer periods of time out and about on your feet. You don’t have to suffer, though. With a little help, you can restore your lower limbs to comfort and efficient mobility. Don’t wait until you avoid all activity because of your painful arches. Contact Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona in Chandler and Gilbert for an appointment or more information. Visit the online contact page, send a fax, or call the offices to reach us: for the Chandler location, call (480) 963-9000 or fax (480) 963-0375; for the Gilbert office, call (480) 981-1800 or fax (480) 981-0229.