Flat-footedness is a medical condition that causes the arches of the feet to collapse. According to many estimates, up to 15% of Americans suffer from some form of flat-footedness. For most adults, this condition causes few complications. However, flat feet can cause significant discomfort, pain, and anxiety. Without the right treatment, this condition can persist, with symptoms worsening over time.
Flat Feet in Adults
Congenital flat-footedness, or flat feet caused by genetic inheritance, is a common medical condition affecting many Americans. However, children can often “outgrow” their flat feet without the need for any intensive medical intervention. But when flat-footedness emerges later in life, the causes are often somewhat opaque, and adult patients must address the condition that caused their arches to fall, weaken, or collapse.
The most common causes of adult flat-footedness include the following:
American adults over the age of 40 are more likely to develop flat feet than their younger counterparts.
Flat feet are a common problem for pregnant women and expecting mothers, whose bodies often change under the weight of an unborn child.
People who are overweight, or obese, may develop flat feet as a consequence of weight-related pressure and stress.
Adult flat-footedness can be caused by injuries, including stretched tendons, torn ligaments, and fractures. Flat-footedness may resolve after the initial injury has been treated.
Some medical conditions—which can include diabetes, arthritis, and hypertension—increase an adult’s lifetime risk of developing flat feet.
Diagnosing Flat Feet
Flat feet do not always cause any significant or noticeable complications. However, some adults may experience pain and swelling around their lower foot and ankle. These symptoms may worsen with physical exertion. The most common symptoms of flat feet include:
- Visible flatness of the arches of the feet
- Feet that are easily fatigued or tired, even when performing regular, low-stress activities
- Reduced range of motion
While flat feet have several telltale signs, only a podiatrist or other medical professional can diagnose the condition. Under most circumstances, flat-footedness can be confirmed with a simple physical examination. However, your podiatrist might also order an X-ray or ultrasound test to determine the cause of your flat-footedness and begin assessing potential solutions.
Treating Adult Flat-Footedness
Since adult flat-footedness has several potential causes, your podiatrist may recommend treatments that relieve your symptoms and prevent and future recurrences. Treatments for adult flat feet include, but are not limited to:
Physical Therapy and Stretching
Some stretching exercises can relieve stiffness, tightness, and muscular imbalances associated with flat-footedness. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, physical therapy could reduce symptoms by strengthening affected muscles.
Supportive Footwear and Arch Supports
Your podiatrist could recommend affordable shoes that help support your arches and redistribute your weight to relieve the pain associated with flat feet.
Orthotics are prescription medical devices that are worn inside of your shoes. In general, orthotics are customized for individual patients. They can help support collapsed arches and provide an additional layer of cushioning.
Adult flat-footedness can usually be resolved without surgery. However, for patients experiencing particularly severe symptoms, surgery can help correct structural abnormalities or latent damage to the foot and ankle.
Podiatrists may also recommend preventative surgery to prevent early-stage cases of flat feed from worsening. Some techniques are minimally invasive and allow for rapid recovery times. Your podiatrist will help you understanding and assess your options.
Are You Suffering With Adult Flat Feet In The Caldwell Or Meridian, Idaho Area?
If you're suffering with adult flat feet you owe it to yourself to speak with our experienced podiatrists as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 208.855.5955 to schedule your appointment. We service all areas surrounding Meridian, Idaho as well as all areas in the Caldwell, Idaho area. We look forward to helping you!