Flat feet, or flat arches, are by far the most common foot deformity in America today, with perhaps 20%-30% of the population affected. Some people in this category will eventually need surgery, but others live healthy, pain free lives with no treatment at all. There are even flat-footed players amongst the ranks of elite athletes, including the NBA.
So what gives? If you have low arches, what flatfoot treatment options are available to you? Do you even need treatment at all? Let’s look a little further.
If you aren’t feeling any pain, and your low arches haven’t been preventing you from living the life you want to live, don’t worry about it. You may want to keep an eye on the condition, but if your feet aren’t bothering you, you shouldn’t feel the need to seek treatment. If you are experiencing foot pain, soreness, tiredness, or swelling, however, then we’ll help you build a medical approach that takes into account the cause and severity of your symptoms.
Whether you were “born” with flat feet (actually we all are, but some people’s arches never permanently form) or suffered a collapsed arch later in life, conservative options are the first route we suggest. Remedies such as arch supports, custom orthotics, or shoe modifications may provide substantial relief, helping you distribute your weight better across your foot and deflecting pressure away from painful spots. In milder cases, sometimes just switching to a more comfortable, better-fitting pair of shoes that naturally supports your arch is all the treatment you need. Physical therapy and stretching may also be recommended to ease pain and strengthen support structures.
For those whose arches have collapsed over time due to injury, age, illness, arthritis, or other problems, surgery may be considered when conservative treatments have failed to bring the intended relief. The goal of surgery is to rebuild the arch, putting your bones in better alignment so that they can distribute forces properly. This helps relieve the pain and gets you back to doing the things you love.
Worried about your flat feet? Like to know more about our treatment options? Call Carolina Podiatry Group today and schedule an appointment with Dr. Brandon S. Percival, Dr. Julie A. Percival, or Dr. William A. Harris. You can reach us 803-285-1411, or toll free at 888-569-9559.
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