What is Fallen Arch? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
If you’re experiencing chronic foot pain, it might be because of fallen arches. It’s not uncommon at all and if the condition is identified early enough, it can be dealt with easily enough.
Adults’ feet have an upward curve in the middle, called an arch. Tendons form the arch in your feet. The arches of your foot are made up of a series of interconnected tendons that attach to the heel and bones of your foot.
What is a Fallen Arch?
A flat or fallen arch is a condition called pes planus. The arch on the sole disappears, which means the foot’s slightly curving inward. The curvature of the heel can also be affected. Pes planus (also known as flat foot) is where the arch of the foot is more flexible and flattens when the weight is taken off or bearing down on it.
The arches in young children often flatten out because they haven’t yet developed properly. It’s not unusual for them to continue to be flexible even when they get older so 15%-25% will still have flexible spongy arches when they grow up.
These people usually have very flexible and mobile joints throughout the body, not just in the feet. Flat Feet also can develop during adulthood. Causes include joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and disorders of nerve function (for example).
When standing (placing weight on the feet) or sitting, a person with rigid flat feet has no arches (no weight on the feet). This disorder usually begins in adolescence and worsens with age. It’s possible that your feet are hurting. Flexing the feet up and down or moving them side to side can be challenging. Flatfoot can affect one or both feet.
Who is at risk of developing fallen arches?
If your toddler’s feet appear to be flat, do not worry, this is perfectly normal. The arch of the foot takes time to form properly and isn’t usually in place until a few more years have gone by.
Most people who are affected by fallen arches are over the age of 40. However, there are exceptions to this rule, with those who are more likely to experience flat feet including runners, weight lifters, and people with high arches.
- Those carrying excess weight
Obesity can lead to problems with your feet, including flat feet
People with diabetes are more likely to struggle with fallen arches.
Those who put constant pressure on their feet by doing things like running on a regular basis also have a greater chance of developing flat feet.
- Wearers of high-heels
More commonly, high-heeled shoes lead to the high-arched foot; however, poor-fitting stilettos and kitten heels can also cause a flat arch.
What are the Causes of Flat Feet and Fallen Arches?
- There is a condition present from birth
- Stretched or torn tendons
- A strain or swelling in the posterior tibial tendon, which connects from your lower leg along your ankle and to the middle of the arch
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Nerve problems
How Do You Avoid Fallen Arches?
Recognize the symptoms
A flat foot is often common in children, but serious problems with arches usually only occur in adults. There are many symptoms of fallen arches, but the most common is pain throughout your arch and heel area – this might include pain in the calf, knee, or low back. You may also have calf swelling, difficulty standing on tiptoes, and impeded walking.
Avoid becoming overweight
One of the leading causes of fallen arches is obesity, additive to not wearing supportive shoes. The more weight you put on your feet, the greater the pressure goes onto your bones and muscles. Too much pressure on the feet can lead to overstretching of the posterior tibial tendon, which runs from your calf muscle along the inside of your ankle and terminates at the arch of your foot.
Wear supportive footwear
Wearing supportive shoes will not eliminate the risk of fallen arches, but it will certainly improve your feet and minimize strain on your Achilles tendon. Avoid flimsy footwear such as flip-flops and high heels.
Soak your feet in warm salt baths
Soaking your feet each day in a warm salt bath can have a significant impact on the level of pain and swelling you feel, especially if the source of your discomfort is muscle or tendon strain.
Massage your sore arches
Giving yourself a foot massage can be really relaxing and if you can’t reach your arches to do it, buy a foot massager. If you find this awkward to use, make sure you get one that is made for feet and has ridges to allow for this. Place the roller under your feet when sitting down and roll back and forth over it with your heels.
What Are The Treatments for Flat Feet and Fallen Arches
Treatment for flat feet and fallen arches largely depends on the severity and cause of the condition. If flat feet are painless or produce no other complications, then treatment is probably not needed. Your doctor may have recommended one of these options:
- If you are experiencing pain or swelling, rest and apply ice to the affected area.
- Stretching Exercises
- Pain relief medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
- Physical therapy
- Orthotic devices, shoe modifications, braces, or casts
- Injectable medications to help reduce inflammation, such as corticosteroids
- You should try to avoid certain activities that put too much of a strain on your feet. This includes running on hard surfaces like the road, sidewalks, etc.
- Playing high-impact sports can lead to some serious injuries. It is best to avoid participating in high-impact sports like basketball, soccer, hockey, tennis, etc.
The best way to avoid getting acquired flat foot is to never have it in the first place. For this, you should choose high-quality shoes that are well-made and suit your feet. Flatfoot in adults is a common disability. Over-the-counter or custom arch supports can help reduce this risk and assist people in retaining mobility. If you already have flatfoot, it doesn’t have to be painful.
Photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash