When you tell people about your flat feet, you might not get a particular empathetic response. Even friends and family members, who should be supportive, may be insensitive to your suffering. After all, when compared with other major medical issues—such as obesity, diabetes, stroke, breast cancer, et cetera—podiatry problems often seem somewhat trivial.

But if you’ve been suffering from the chronic discomfort of flat feet, you want answers. What can you do to alleviate the swelling, pain in your ankle, lower leg and foot pain, and general inflammation and stress?

Some podiatry surveys estimate that as many as one out of every four Americans suffers from flat feet. The majority of flat footers have few symptoms. Most who do experience symptoms can easily control them with slightly better shoes, stretching, and the occasional dose of Tylenol or Advil.

Other people, however, are not so lucky. They deal with foot-related pain as a daily presence in their lives. Moreover, some patients live with flat feet for years without much consequence, and then suddenly develop acute symptoms.

It's important to get evaluated by an experienced, board-certified Pennsylvania podiatrist, since your incipient foot pain could be an indicator of deeper medical complications.

The process of evaluating and fixing flat feet

At the podiatrist's office, your doctor will likely run you through a battery of tests. She might x-ray the tendons and bones in your feet, take a medical history, look for foot problems like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, and test to see whether your flat feet are rigid or flexible.

Depending on how your foot performs in these tests and whether or not you have other medical conditions—such as fibromyalgia or diabetes—you might be given therapies. These can include physical therapy for the foot, orthotics, medications, advice for choosing sneakers and shoes, and surgical treatment.

Fortunately, most cases of flat feet can be resolved without surgery. We’ll talk about the implications of surgery in an upcoming blog post. Until then, if you need answers with your questions about flat feet, connect with the team here at Healthmark Foot & Ankle Associates at 610-933-8644.