Flat feet can be the source of a lifetime of foot pain and can predispose you to a host of other injuries if not properly treated. Problems associated with an untreated flat foot can lead to are arthritis, tendon damage, bunions, hammertoes, bone spurs, and the deformity becomes rigid/stiff. With early and appropriate intervention such as appropriate shoewear and the use of a custom orthotic, individuals with flat feet can live a full and pain-free life in most cases.
The arch of our foot is important because it allows us to adapt to different terrains and absorb the shock of our body weight hitting the ground. When you have a flat foot, your arch is collapsed. Thus your joints are subject to more stress since its shock absorber is absent. Flat feet also place stress on the ligaments and tendons in the foot, causing tears and inflammation. The earlier your flat foot is treated, the more successful the treatment will be in the long term. If you also suspect any of your children have flat feet, make an appointment for you and your child with an NYC foot specialist.
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Walking and Flat Feet
Since the arch is our main tool for shock absorption within the foot, having flat feet results in extra stress to your entire skeletal structure. One may develop problems within muscles, tendons, and joints without the proper support offered by a custom insole and proper treatment by a local New York Foot Doctor. Fallen arches force your feet to roll inwards when you walk, weakening attached tissues. The weakening of tendons and ligaments in fallen arches leads to severe pain in your feet, ankles, and lower leg. The pain usually begins in your heel and arch but will start to affect other areas of the body over time if not treated by a podiatrist in NYC.
Before you visit with a foot doctor in New York City, you can perform some simple tests on yourself to see if you have flat feet or fallen arches:
- Wet your feet with warm water.
- Stand on a hard, flat surface that can show your wet footprints, such as a concrete driveway.
- Step away and view the footprints. If the imprint of your foot is narrow and arched, you don’t have flat feet; if it’s a solid imprint from the balls of your feet to your heel, you have flat feet.
Some young children have a condition called “flexible flat feet,” which appear to look flat when they stand up even though they have an arch while sitting. Pediatric flat feet can usually be treated with an orthotic to promote arch development until the muscles tighten up. Sometimes, orthotic treatment is lifelong, and sometimes it is just temporary to assist in arch development. Don’t rely on home diagnosis and treatment since many flat foot deformities are complicated, and examination by a top podiatric doctor is recommended.
Causes of Flat Feet
Foot specialists encounter flat feet from a variety of causes. The most common causes of flat feet in adults include:
- Torn or stretched tendons
- Congenital deformities
- Health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
- Posterior tibial tendon (PTT) inflammation or damage — this is the tendon that connects your lower leg to the arch of your foot.
- Bone Coalitions
- Dislocated or broken bones
- Nerve problems
Your local foot specialist or podiatrist NYC at Podiatry Midtown specialists can better inform you about what’s causing your flat feet. Our prominent New York foot doctors are trained to treat all causes of flat foot. As well as the above-mentioned causes, the flat foot can also be caused by:
Symptoms of Flat Feet
The most common symptoms of flat feet are:
- Achy or painful arches and heels
- Feet that tire easily
- Difficulty moving your feet or standing on tiptoes
- Swollen soles at the inside part of your feet
- Leg and back pain
If any of these symptoms occur, visit foot doctor NYC. It’s important to prevent future complications, and you can discuss what kinds of remedies exist to help you feel better.
Diagnosis of Flat Feet
During your appointment, an NYC podiatrist examines your feet to determine whether you have flat feet. The foot specialist will perform a physical examination, and x-rays are typically taken. Through various tests and interviews, the foot specialist looks for the type of flat foot you have. The exam can include any of the following steps:
- MRI or X-rays of your feet
- Asking about your health history for injuries or illnesses that can be associated with fallen arches
- Observing your legs and feet as you perform simple movements like standing up, walking, and raising your heels
- Examining your shoe soles for unusual wear patterns
- Testing the strength of your posterior tibial tendon and Achilles tendon
Conservative Treatment of Flat Feet
Typically, surgical treatment of flat feet is reserved for extreme cases in which conservative treatment has been unsuccessful. The treatment your podiatrist in NYC recommends on your type flat foot since each deformity is slightly different. Even if your flat foot is not currently painful, it is recommended to wear a custom orthotic to prevent the worsening of the deformity. If you have flat feet, your NYC foot doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Stretching exercises
- Ice and rest to reduce swelling and pain.
- Multi-disciplinary treatment between the physical therapist and foot specialist
- Immobilization such as wearing a walking boot
- Pain relief medications like NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Injected corticosteroids to reduce swelling
- Braces, shoe modifications, casts, or orthotic devices
- Reconstructive surgery
Surgical Treatment For Flat Feet
If your pain or foot damage is severe, your foot specialist may recommend a surgical procedure such as:
- Arthrodesis, which fuses the joints in your foot that has become painful and arthritic
- Lateral column lengthening or bone grafting, which makes your arch rise more naturally
- Surgically removing bone spurs or other bones or bony growths, known as an excision.
- Synovectomy- Removes damage from tendons
- Osteotomy, which changes the bone shape
- Tendon transfer, which adds tendons from elsewhere to your foot to equalize the pulling force of the tendon that creates the arch shape
- Arthroereisis or STJ implant – corrects arch in a flexible flat foot
- Calcaneal Osteotomy- Re-aligns the heel bone under the leg
All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult your foot doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board-certified podiatrist or foot specialist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Do you have any questions about a Flat Feet correction or its treatment in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, top NYC Podiatrist and foot doctor at Manhattan Foot Specialists? Please contact our office for a consultation.Dr. Mohammad Rimawi has either authored or reviewed and approved this content. New York City Locations Manhattan Foot Specialists (Upper East Side) 983 Park Ave, Ste 1D14, New York, NY 10028
(212) 389-1886 Manhattan Foot Specialists (Midtown) 51 East 25th Street, Ste 451, NY 10010
(212) 389-9918 Manhattan Foot Specialists (Union Square) 55 W 17th St Ste 106, NY 10011