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How Do Flat Feet Affect Your Overall Health?

Do you have flat feet? There are two ways you can wind up without an arch. The first is that your feet just develop that way, and the second is that your arch slowly collapses with time. Either way, a consultation with an expert such as Dr. Dominique Nickson at Next Step Orthopedics can help you avoid foot pain due to your fallen arches. 

Babies and toddlers naturally have flat feet. Most of the time, your arch develops over time. But for some people it never happens. If you’ve always had flat feet, you may never have any problems because of them.

Flat feet, also called fallen arches, may develop from overuse injuries or as a result of several medical conditions. 

Overuse injuries

In many cases, your posterior tibial tendon, which connects your calf muscle to the bones on the inside of your foot, can become injured. This tendon is largely responsible for holding up your arch. If your posterior tibial tendon becomes torn, stretched, or inflamed due to injury or overuse, you’re at risk for developing fallen arches. 

When your posterior tibial tendon is inflamed, you have pain on the inside of your foot and ankle, possibly some swelling, and the pain worsens while you’re active. Even walking may be painful, and high-impact activities near impossible. 

Women and people over the age of 40 are at the greatest risk of developing an overuse injury that leads to fallen arches.

Underlying conditions

If you have diabetes or hypertension, or you’re carrying extra weight, you have a greater likelihood of developing fallen arches. It’s important to make sure you’re treating the underlying condition in order to lessen any foot pain you may be experiencing. 

 

People with diabetes need to work closely with a foot care expert because diabetes is associated with particular risks to your foot health. Flat feet is just one of several potential diabetes-related problems.


The impact of flat feet

There are two different types of flat feet: flexible and rigid. If your arches have fallen, but your foot still appears to have an arch when your foot is off the floor, you have flexible flat foot. If your foot remains flat regardless of whether it’s bearing weight or not, you have rigid flat foot. 

 

Most often, flexible flat feet don’t cause problems, but over time, they can progress to rigid flat feet, which may be painful and limit your activities. 

Your overall health

If your feet hurt, it’s difficult to perform your normal day-to-day activities. Exercise -- even something as simple as a short walk -- can be nearly impossible. It’s hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you have trouble walking.

Often, people with painful flat feet begin to walk slightly differently, and that can lead to joint pain in your knees, hips, and back. The pain in your feet spreads -- making a healthy lifestyle even harder to maintain and increasing the difficulty of simply performing your normal activities.

Don’t wait to get help

One of the problems many people with flat feet have is that they don’t seek treatment soon enough. You may think that it’s normal for your feet to hurt as you get older, or that there’s nothing that can be done.

In reality, the sooner you get help, the less damage there is to your feet. If your feet hurt, book an appointment with Dr. Nickson and find out why, as well as what we can do about it. You can call our office between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday, or use our simple online booking tool to schedule your appointment. 

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