Philadelphia Tri-state Area Podiatrists Answer Foot Health Questions
We believe that every question deserves a good answer. Healthmark Foot and Ankle provides you the best up-to date information for your concerns.
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Will getting arch inserts help correct my flat feet?
Probably not. While arch supports may relieve some of the pressure on your painful flat feet in Philadelphia, they will likely not be strong enough to mold your foot into an arched position. Before you attempt any home remedies on your arches, you should schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to discover what the best treatment for your foot pain will be.
The first thing you should ask your podiatrist is if it is indeed the flatness of your foot that is causing the pain, since many flat feet are painless. There are many different causes of flat feet, including:
- Genetics. Humans generally develop an arch in their feet around four or five years old. However, many people never develop arches. Flat feet may be simply a genetic variation in foot type; some patients experience pain in the arch and heels, and some people never have any pain as a result.
- Increased weight. Weight gain can cause the arches to flatten out over time, placing pressure on the tendons and ligaments along the bottom of the foot. This may cause the ligaments to stretch and results in a widened foot and flattened arch.
- Age. Tendons along the bottom of the foot will also stretch with time. Older patients may experience fallen arches as these ligaments lose their elasticity.
Once your Phoenixville podiatrist determines the cause of your flat feet,he can help you determine the best course of treatment. At HealthMark Foot & Ankle Associates, we can bring your foot back to normal alignment and ease the discomfort as your feet heal. Call us today at 610-565-3668 in Media or 610-933-8644 in Phoenixville to get a diagnosis on your condition.
Do flat feet only cause pain in the foot, or can the condition cause pain elsewhere?
It might seem strange to think that flat feet can cause problems in other places in the body. While a case of rigid or inflexible flat feet can certainly cause pain in the toes, heel, arch, and outside ridge of the foot, patients who let their flat feet go untreated may eventually experience pain in other areas of the body, including the:
- Ankles. Walking continually on a flattened arch puts extra pressure on the ankles, which can cause them to swell or even fracture over time.
- Lower legs. You might experience pain in your calves or a stabbing pain in your shins (known as shin splints) as your body attempts to cope with the stress of an inflexible foot.
- Back and hips. As the pain caused by flat feet travels throughout your body, you may alter your walking pattern to ease the discomfort. In doing so, you place weight on other, less stable areas, including your back, hips, and joints.
The good news is that flat feet often can be treated easily, before you experience any long-term complications. Changing shoes, wearing custom-made orthotics, or doing daily exercises might be enough to reverse the condition. At times, though, surgery may be necessary to correct the fallen arch.
There are many causes of flat foot pain, and your case might call for different treatment from that of another person. Our trusted podiatrists at Healthmark Foot and Ankle Associates can fix flat feet in Media, and it all starts with a consultation. Don’t put it off any longer. Call our office today at 610-565-3668 in Media or 610-933-8644 in Phoenixville.
I think my child has flat feet. Should I still let him run around in his bare feet?
We understand that you want the very best for your child’s feet. Many parents are concerned about fallen arches and flat feet—and a lot of blame is placed on barefoot running and the wearing of nonsupportive shoes, such as flip-flops.
Your child’s feet are not yet fully developed, and so they might look much different from yours. Young children, in particular, have greater stores of fat on their feet for protection, and the tendons along their soles have not yet tightened to form an arch. Most children start to develop an arch when they are around 3 years old, but some take longer—and some will never fully develop a noticeable arch.
If your child is complaining of pain along the bottom of his foot, you may want to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to rule out tarsal coalition. This condition occurs when two or more of the bones in the foot have grown improperly and fused together. It can be corrected with rest and a cast, but in some extreme cases, your child could require surgery to resolve the problem.
If your child is not experiencing any pain or is not having problems walking, there probably is no need to correct his flat feet. Running, jumping, walking barefoot, and wearing flip-flops are not likely to inhibit his growth, cause his arches to fall, or make his flat feet any worse.
If you want to know more about the causes of flat foot pain, contact the experienced Philadelphia podiatrists at Healthmark Foot & Ankle Associates. We will be happy to set up a consultation for you over the phoneat 610-565-3668 in Media or 610-933-8644 in Phoenixville.
What can I do to relieve at least some of the pain caused by my flat feet?
Trying to explain the pain of flat feet to outsiders is difficult, since flat feet are not typically considered an acute medical problem. If you live with a chronic pain, day-in and day-out, you know firsthand that the experience can be debilitating.
Here are tips for regulating your pain:
- Schedule an appointment with a Pennsylvania podiatrist as soon as possible. Simple fixes—such as a change in footwear, a stretching regimen, or even a simple surgery—may eliminate your chronic agony and inflammation for good.
- Improve your diet and exercise regimen. When you’re metabolically healthy, your immune system functions better, and your whole body tends to be more resilient to the trials and tribulations of the day. For instance, you might want to consider cutting back on sugary junk foods to lose weight and normalize your blood sugar. Whole-body stress relief can also have a profound influence on the health of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet and the rest of your body. When you’re under a lot of stress, you secrete a lot of a hormone called cortisol. In excess, cortisol can lead to problems like inflammation and the formation of painful muscle knots in the feet and elsewhere.
- Rest and get massage. Safe massage combined with lots of good rest—including a good night's sleep—not only can help your foot directly, but also it can also help your whole body recover from stress and trauma.
- Keep a “flat foot journal.” What are the triggers that cause you the most flat-foot related pain? One great way to find out is to keep a journal of your foot pain and to review that journal on a weekly basis to identify patterns. What activities in your life really stress your feet? What actions make them feel better? As you recognize your patterns better, you will learn to avoid “stresses” on your feet and do more of what makes them feel better.
For help, connect with the team here at Healthmark Foot & Ankle Associates. For a free consultation, call 610-565-3668 now.
Is there a medical solution for flat feet?
There are medical solutions to flat feet, depending on your age and the severity of your case. However, treatment is not used very often except in severe cases. Doctors typically will not perform any treatment on children with flat feet because they are still growing; however, a doctor may treat the condition if the child is having pain or problems walking. Even as adults, flat feet typically do not require treatment unless there is pain involved.
If you have painful flat feet, you should contact a Phoenixville podiatrist for a consultation. Your doctor may recommend orthotic arch support inserts for your shoes or even custom shoes. The treatment will depend on the cause. A condition called tarsal coalition may require surgery if rest and a cast do not improve the condition. Surgery also may be required to repair tendons and fuse joints.
Although surgery is an option, it should be used only as a last resort. Surgery carries risks such as:
- loss of movement; and
- failure of the bones to heal.
Although surgery does carry risks, most patients report better function and reduced pain. However, pain relievers and orthotics should be tried first before resorting to surgery. Talk to a Phoenixville podiatrist about your options.
If you have flat feet and would like an opinion from an expert in the field, contact Healthmark Foot and Ankle. Healthmark can connect you with a Phoenixville podiatrist who provides excellent care for not only flat feet, but also many other foot and ankle conditions. Contact them today for a consultation at 1-610-933-8644.